Albums / Year

Albums 2021

Artist : Deafening Opera

Album : Driftwood

Release Date : 17-08-2021

Added : 27-09-2021

'Deafining Opera' is a German progressive rock band that has released 3 albums of which the last 'Blueprint' from 2013 and 'Let Silence Fall' from 2018 are available on spotify and 2021 sees the release of a new album, quite short, that puts forward an acoustic progressive that we didn't know from them, three tracks, '25.000 Miles', 'As Night And Day Collide' and 'Man And Machine' being taken from their last two releases. So we embark on a relaxing progressive journey that mixes different influences ranging from pop, jazz through folk with beautiful vocal harmonies.
After the short instrumental introduction 'Murghab Morning', it is without transition that '25,000 Miles' takes over and after the departure of 'Gerald Marie', it is the guitarist 'Moritz Kunkel' who takes over the piano with jazzy sounds much more marked than in the initial version. With 'Snowman's Meadow', this jazzy side is still present in a swaying rhythm in which the voice of 'Arian Daleore' is particularly expressive and 'Outlaw Feline' brings this time folk influences with a catchy melody and beautiful rhythmic breaks which makes it a varied composition. The beautiful ballad break 'As Night And Day Collide' offers a nice piano/voice duet joined by a muffled bass/drum rhythm section then, 'Farewell Kiss' is a beautiful acoustic ballad in which the vocal duet 'Alexandra Stovall'/'Adrian Daleore' charms us in an atmosphere full of sensibility, sensibility that we find again at the beginning of the following track, 'Man And Machine', which takes off halfway through for a more energetic and catchy finale. And it is with a new ballad, 'Little Stone' that the album ends in this soft and relaxing acoustic atmosphere.

In summary, the Germans of 'Deafining Opera' offers us a beautiful acoustic incursion showing a face full of sweetness that should please an audience adept of a relaxing progressive that can be enjoyed quietly headphones on the ears...

Line Up / Musicians

Moritz Kunkel (Guitar, Piano, Choirs), Thomas Moser (Guitar), Christian Eckstein (Bass, Choirs), Adrian Daleore (Vocal), Konrad Gonschorek (Drums) + Guests : Alexandra Stovall (Vocal), Tilman Eispert (Keybords)

Artist : Deep Purple

Album : Live in London 2002

Release Date : 13-08-2021

Added : 02-09-2021

Line Up / Musicians

Ian Gillan (Vocal), Steve Morse (Guitar), Roger Glover (Bass), John Lord (Keybords), Ian Paice (Drums)

Artist : Sheryl Crow

Album : Live From the Ryman And More

Release Date : 13-08-2021

Added : 26-09-2021

After her last album 'Threads' which had been announced by the singer and guitarist 'Sheryl Crow' as the last one, the American released in August 2021 a live album recorded during several evenings in 2019 including in the legendary room of the 'Ryman Auditorium' of Nashville which has seen passed artists as prestigious as the others. Surrounded by artist friends like 'Stevie Nicks' or 'Emmylou Harris', she revisits her repertoire with a good place for her last album (8 tracks are taken from it) and she goes through her long career with quite a few tracks from the 90s, her first album 'Tuesday Night Music Cub' dating back to 1993 being also well represented. In this live atmosphere which puts even more forward this spontaneity and this warmth, Sheryl shows this real complicity with the public which returns to her well by accompanying her throughout the concert and the two and a half hours pass at a crazy speed with this remarkable mixture between energetic compositions and others quieter and filled with a lot of emotion. In short, we spend a very good time listening to this live of 'Sheryl Crow' which is a magnificent best of from her career and which should please, beyond fans, a large public liking this mix between pop, rock, blues and country...

Line Up / Musicians

Sheryl Crow , Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Steven Jordan, Lucius, Maren Morris, Stevie Nicks, Waddy Wachtel

Artist : The Cyberiam

Album : Connected

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 19-09-2021

I had told you about the live 'Forging Nations LIVE!' released at the end of 2020 and the Americans of 'The Cyberiam' have released a new album, 'Connected', at the beginning of August 2021. They are part of the current progressive movement with multiple influences by merging different styles and this opus confirms this direction taken with a beautiful variety of soundscapes in an album rich both in quality and quantity since it totals 71 minutes on the counter for 9 tracks.

The first track 'Interrogation Room B' is a long development that begins gently with a section in which the acoustic guitar accompanies the soft vocals of 'Keith Semple', the electric instruments and drums then join for a first half of track sung quite quiet then, at mid-stroke, after a short break, a rougher instrumental section takes over highlighting a remarkable rhythm section offering beautiful variations in tempo allowing the different instruments to express themselves fully. Follows 'The Moral Lanscape' which is energetic and rhythmic with beautiful disgressions of electric and acoustic guitars bringing a real progressive creativity, then, 'Wakeup Call' is a magnificent semi-acoustic song with a beautiful catchy melody more direct which shows all the variety of this formation. With 'Sunset on Mars', it's a long track of almost 9 minutes, mostly sung, in a calm atmosphere and with a memorable melody, the second part offering us a more progressive and more energetic incursion with a remarkable guitar solo and 'In SaN1tY' brings us back to imaginative progressive with multiple alternations of intensity and rhythm on a new catchy melody Change of scene with the title track which is a magnificent ballad in which we abandon ourselves completely to the delicate singing of 'Brian Kovacs' and which offers a light crescendo until the very beautiful final guitar solo. Then, with 'Wilde Things', the title track is cut in two with a first melodic and catchy sung part and a second instrumental part much more progressive. The 10 minutes of 'Miles Away' confirm the writing scheme used by 'The Cyberiam' with more conventional sung parts and melodies that we tame quickly enough, that alternate with instrumental parts much more progressive including inventive and more researched digressions, the album ends with 'Bigger Questions', more linear in construction, with a repetitive melodic theme that, for my part, did not necessarily seem essential given the length of the album and the quality of previous compositions.

In summary, the Americans of 'The Cyberiam' release an album that alternates catchy melodies with more sought-after progressive parts which destines 'Connected' to a rather large progressive audience liking formations mixing rock and metal like the various projects of 'Neal Morse', 'Transatlantic' or 'Flying Colors' or those of 'John Mitchell' like 'Lonely Robot' or 'Arena'...

Line Up / Musicians

Keith Semple (Vocal, Guitar), Brian Kovacs (Vocal, Bass), Frank Lucas (Vocal, Keybords), Tommy Murray (Vocal, Drums)

Artist : Brian May

Album : Back to the Light (Deluxe)

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 20-09-2021

'Brian May', that we don't introduce anymore, released a very nice album with 'Kelly Ellis' in 2017 ('Golden Days') that took us back a few decades and 2021 sees the re-release of his first solo album, 'Back to the Light' released in 1993 after the end of 'Queen'. For the fans, at the time, this album allowed to hear again this so characteristic sound of the British (with of course this recognizable guitar sound of Brian) and this from the short introduction 'The Dark' but also in compositions like 'Back to the Light' with its remarkable choirs or in the energetic 'Love Taken' or 'Resurrection' or 'Driven By You' with its similarities with 'I Want to Break Free', without forgetting the calmer moments with the poignant 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' or 'Just One Life', the remarkable blues 'Nothin' But Blue' and the instrumental 'Last Horizon' or the irresistible 'Let Your Heart Rule Your Head' with its choirs close to the gospel. But this reissue is also accompanied in the deluxe version of Spotify by a second part which offers us 11 compositions with guitar versions of three of the titles highlighting the talent of 'Brian May' and the emotion he gives off with his guitar, but also recordings of concerts from the 90s with some of the most famous songs of 'Queen' like 'Tie Your Mother Down' or 'We Will Rock You'. In short, this reissue allows for the connoisseurs to dive back into this period of the 90's with this happiness to hear 'Brian May' again and will perhaps allow some young people who do not know him yet, to discover one of the legendary guitarists of this period of the 80's/90's...

Line Up / Musicians

Brian May (Vocal, Chœurs, Guitar, Keybords), Gary Tibbs (Bass), John Deacon (Bass), Cozy Powell (Drums, Percussions), Geoff Dugmore (Drums, Percussions), Miriam Stockley (Chœurs), Maggie Ryder (Chœurs), Suzie O'List (Chœurs), Gill O'Donovan (Chœurs), Mike Moran (Piano, Keybords), + Guests : Don Airey (Keybords)

Artist : Cruzh

Album : Tropical Thunder

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 21-09-2021

After their first album 'Cruzh' in 2016, the Swedes of 'Cruzh' release their second studio recording 'Tropical Thunder' with a new singer since it is now 'Alex Waghorn' who took the place of 'Tony Andersson' and 'Matt Silver' is now the regular drummer. At first, with 'Tropical Thunder', we think that the style has slightly hardened because we embark on energetic melodic hard-rock in a train of hell but the following title, 'We Go Together' is more measured with an addictive chorus that comes to be grafted directly in the head to never leave and 'Turn Back Time' continues in this more AOR atmosphere that we knew on the first album with a new addictive melody. The rest of the album is full of melodic hits that could all be the subject of a single with 'Are You Ready', strongly reminding 'Def Leppard', but also with the mid-tempo 'New York Night' with its very eighties choirs or with 'All You Need' which has nothing to envy to its predecessor, the rest of the album bringing the same listening pleasure thanks to heady choruses. And when the lights get dimmer, the Swedes offer us a real jewel with the ballad 'Cady' that I directly added to my playlist of ballads here and that makes you wish it was accompanied by another one of the same style. In short, the Swedes of 'Cruzh' confirm that they are part of the top of the melodic AOR Scandinavian style which should make many fans of rock and melodic hard-rock turn this 'Tropical Thunder' in loop...

Line Up / Musicians

Alex Waghorn (Vocal), Anton Joensson (Guitar, Chœurs), Dennis Butabi Borg (Bass, Chœurs), Matt Silver (Drums, Chœurs) + Guest : Erik Wiss (Keybords)

Artist : Mayank, Gui Oliver

Album : Mayank

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 22-09-2021

On the same day as the last 'Cruzh', the debut album of 'Mayank' was released, which is a new melodic rock band that is again (just like 'Cruzh') a production of 'Frontiers' director 'Serafino Perugino' and this new project consists of Brazilian singer 'Gui Oliver' ('Auras', 'Landfall'), Swedish guitarist 'Rolf Nordström' ('Perfect Plan'), the drummer 'Nicholas Papapicco' and, of course, the unavoidable 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' on keyboards, bass and backing vocals, because when it comes to 'Frontiers', the Italian isn't far away. On ideas of 'Alessandro Del Vechio', the texts and melodies of the 11 titles were written by 'Gui Oliver' and, without surprise, we sail in harmonious and refined AOR in the great tradition of the different bands of the artists constituting 'Mayank' but also of formations bringing us back to the 80s with 'Survivor' or 'Journey'. The first single released, 'Destiny Calling' (see video above) sums up the whole. We spend a very pleasant moment listening to tracks like 'Billy is on the Run', 'Julia's Smile' or 'From the Heart' or 'Eternal Dream' or even the only ballad of the album 'Sign of Love'. In short, 'Mayank' is added to the long list of melodic rock bands, and we spend a very good time listening to this first opus which should please a large public adept of an elegant AOR with catchy melodies...

Line Up / Musicians

Gui Oliver (Vocal), Rolf Nordstorm (Guitar), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Bass, Keybords, Chœurs), Nicolas Papapicco (Drums)

Artist : Blood Red Saints

Album : Undisputed

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 23-09-2021

The band 'Blood Red Saints' has been around since 2014 and has already released 3 albums, the last one, 'Pulse' dating back to 2019 and for which they had signed with 'AOR Heaven' leaving fans of rock and melodic hard-rock a bit perplexed, the production not being up to par and the melodic lines not necessarily very immediate. 2021 sees the release of a new album, 'Undisputed', and the English have now moved to 'Frontiers' (and yes another reviewed album from this label, 'Serafino Perugino' made strong on the releases on August 6 as it's the third album after 'Cruzh' and 'Mayank' and it's not over with two more reviews to follow!!). No need to make you languish, from the first track 'This Ain't A Love Song', we are in the bath of an AOR that brings us back to the best of the 80s with a modern sound for a mid-tempo with a rhythm section that automatically triggers you the headbanging machine. And it continues in the same atmosphere with 'Love Like War' and its addictive guitar riffs, the chorus with its chorus being quite in the style of 'Def Leppard', then, 'Heaven In The Headlights' would certainly have been a hit in the 80s with its heady chorus and 'Breathe Again' continues in this flamboyant AOR, just like 'Caught In The Wreckage' which follows, the only drawback I would have is that the melodic lines of the two tracks, even if they are not in the same tone and in the same tempo, are quite close. The second part of the album doesn't weaken with new addictive melodies which parade one after the other and the beautiful ballad 'Complete' comes at the end of the album to charm us and propose a restful moment before concluding on the mid-tempo 'All I Wanna Do' which ends in a beautiful way this album. In short, it is useless to add, the English of 'Blood Red Saints' release an excellent album of melodic rock which is tasted from the first to the last track and which should make happy all the fans of this style...

Line Up / Musicians

Pete Godfrey (Vocal, Bass), Lee Revill (Guitar), Neil Hibbs (Guitar), Andy Chemney (Drums)

Artist : Night Ranger

Album : ATBPO

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 24-09-2021

And we continue with the releases of 'Frontiers' of last August 6 and this time, we go to the side of California with the Americans of 'Night Ranger' who continue to release albums since already 40 years since their first studio recording 'Dawn Patrol' dates already of 1982. Written and recorded during the pandemic that allows our dear governments to continue to rot our lives, this latest opus 'APBPO' (And the Band Played On) has nothing to envy to the previous ones and offers us 11 direct and efficient compositions in a standard format between 3 and 5 minutes in an energetic and melodic hard-rock. It is thus left for 50 minutes which make parade compositions all as addictive the ones as the others while starting with explosive 'Coming for You' which puts you in form all day and that continues with melodic jewels with a communicative energy like 'Bring It All to Me' (see video here) with its chorus to be taken again in chorus and which has airs of 'All Night Long' of AC/DC, or the fiery 'Breakout' (see video above) and its chanted chorus or 'Hard to Make It Easy' in a hyper classic rock'n'roll but with a formidable rhythmic efficiency. After this grouped shooting that we want to play again and again, the ballad 'Can't Afford a Hero' and its slide guitar offers us a well-deserved break with a new memorable melody. The second part of the album is of the same invoice and follows one another of titles, all candidates for single with 'Dance' which carries well its name with its rhythmic of 'We Will Rock You' and which should make headbang all a public, the second ballad 'The Hardest Road' which has nothing to envy to the first one or the frenzied 'Monkey', the album ends with 'Lucky Man' with choirs that give an irresistible desire to accompany them and with 'Tomorrow', direct and efficient with a memorable last chorus. In short, the Americans of 'Night Ranger' continue to offer us very good melodic hard-rock and we still have a wonderful time listening to 'ATBPO' intended for a large public who likes this style full of communicative energy...

Line Up / Musicians

Jack Blades (Vocal, Bass), Brad Gillis (Guitar), Joel Hoekstra (Guitar), Eric Levy (Keybords), Kelly Keagy (Vocal, Drums)

Artist : Spektra

Album : Overload

Release Date : 06-08-2021

Added : 25-09-2021

Rounding out the August 6 release of 'Frontiers' (and the label also released other albums on the same day with 'Come One, Comme All' from 'Circus of Rock', 'Isle Of Wrath' from 'Long Shadow Dawn' and 'All Things Must Pass' from 'Alirio'), it's to Brazil that we go with the album 'Overload' from the new band 'Spektra', which is composed of artists who regularly perform with the well-known American singer 'Jeff Scott Soto'. And by the way, it's Jeff himself who supervised and produced the whole thing helped by a certain 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' (that's it, I'm now pretty sure, this guy, to soak in so many different projects, he mustn't sleep more than 10 minutes a night!!). We are thus plunged in a kind of a best of in melodic hard-rock of the 80s/90s with anthems in mess composed by the singer of the group, 'BJ' (of his name 'Luis Paulo de Almeida Junior'), very popular in Brazil and who has nothing to envy to 'Jeff Scott Soto' in the vocal performances. Like the 4 other releases of 'Frontiers' reviewed in the previous days in myprogmusic, the melodic hits follow one after the other and we can quote the energetic title track that starts the album (see video above), 'Runnin' out of Time' (see video here) and 'Breakaway' and their melodies that immediately get into the head, the catchy 'Our Love' without forgetting the calm moment with the ballad 'Since I Found You'. In short, we spend a very pleasant moment listening to this first album of 'Spektra' which should like the other releases of 'Frontiers', fill with happiness all the aficionados of rock and melodic hard-rock...

Line Up / Musicians

BJ (Vocal), Leo Mancini (Guitar), Henrique Canale (Bass), Edu Cominato (Drums)

Artist : Axel Rudi Pell

Album : Diamonds Unlocked II

Release Date : 30-07-2021

Added : 16-09-2021

A little more than a year after the release of 'Sign of Times' which saw the German guitarist and his companions continue to deliver good direct and efficient hard-rock taking us back to the 70s/80s, 2021 sees the release this time of a covers album, 'Diamonds Unlocked II'. After the short guitaristic introduction that allows us to slowly go up in power for the first track of the album and that is now regular in 'Axel Rudi Pell' albums, parade more or less known compositions by starting with a 'There's Only One Way To Rock' from 1982's from 'Sammy Hagar' that sets the tone for this hard-rocking album, then we move from 'Rainbow' with a remarkable 'Lady Of The Lake' to the 'Rolling Stones' with 'Paint It Black' with a remarkable guitar solo by Axel through pop revisited with the 'She's a Lady' from 'Paul Anka' released in 1970 which is more known with the version of 'Tom Jones' and which is covered partly as a ballad to go up in power in the second part or 'Eagle' from Abba' from 1977 with a slightly more "metallised" version, without forgetting the beautiful ballad 'Room With A View' from 'Tony Carey'. In short, this Axel Rudi Pell' cover album rakes in a lot but continues to showcase this hard-rock band who continue to perpetuate good classic hard-rock but also who are known for their beautiful ballads (see the fifth opus dedicated to ballads released in 2017 here...

List of titles, original artists, albums, and year of release :
01. Der Schwarze Abt (Intro)
02. There's Only One Way To Rock - original par Sammy Hagar
03. Lady Of The Lake (Rainbow – Long Live Rock Album 'n'Roll' – 1978)
04. She's A Lady (Paul Anka – 70's – 1970)
05. Black Cat Woman (Geordie – Electric Lady / Black Cat Woman – 1973)
06. Room With A View (Tony Carey – Wilder Westen Inclusive – 1988)
07. Sarah (You Take My Breath Away) (Chris Norman – The Original Album II - Different Shades – 1987)
08. Rock N' Roll Queen (The Subways – Young for Eternity – 2005)
09. Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones – Aftermath – 1966)
10. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins – At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins – 1956)
11. Eagle (Abba – The Album – 1978)

Line Up / Musicians

Johnny Gioeli (Vocal, Choirs), Axel Rudi Pell (Guitar), Ferdy Doernberg (Keybords), Volker Krawczak (Bass), Bobby Rondinelli (Drums)

Artist : Big Big Train

Album : Common Ground

Release Date : 30-07-2021

Added : 17-09-2021

The summer period has not been very prolific in progressive rock album releases but this has allowed me to listen and re-listen several times to the latest 'Big Big Train' which has now been out for more than a month and to appreciate again this new offering from the English who, after 'Big Tour' of 2019 which didn't give me as much pleasure as the previous albums (tastes and colors...) and the very nice live 'Empire (Live)' of 2020, offer us an hour of modern progressive rock and that we appropriate little by little as we listen to it with this time guests who join the basic quartet to flesh out the whole.

First, with 'The Strangest Time', the catchy atmosphere reminds me of those of Elton John' with this freshness of a melodic pop/rock, the progressive side arriving in the second part with beautiful variations of the theme, then, complete change of scenery with 'All the Love we can Give' which develops different musical themes more researched and which is a multi-faceted track that you have to listen several times to penetrate all the nooks and crannies. Then comes 'Black with Ink' which starts with a more classic rock melody that takes us back to the 80's but after 3 minutes takes a progressive direction with a long and more elaborated instrumental part that leaves a good place for remarkable guitar and keyboards interventions to come back in the last two minutes to a short section that brings us back to the starting theme to finally conclude with a new inventive instrumental part with a very nice symphonic finale. The two following tracks, shorter, offer us, first of all, the song 'Dandelion Clock', between ballad and mid-tempo, with a beautiful melody and magnificent vocal harmonies then the instrumental 'Headwaters' bringing a restful and peaceful moment with the accompaniment of the piano. With 'Apollo', all the artists bring their stone to the building of this instrumental in which remarkable accompaniments of flute, violin, brass, keyboards, and guitar follow one after the other and which develops a long memorable epic final which would have deserved a true end rather than a fade out. More accessible, the eponymous track of the album develops a peaceful atmosphere with a catchy melody, then, the masterpiece of the album 'Atlantic Cable' points the tip of its nose and embarks us for a progressive saga of more than 15 minutes which makes us go through all kinds of emotions and which deploys a creative and imaginative progressive with multi-drawers that we open with happiness one after the other, and the album ends in a nice way with the quiet 'Endnotes', in a cosy atmosphere on a slow tempo in light crescendo that rocks us to the rhythm of harmonious melodic lines. By the way, I didn't tell you about the theme of the album and I'll end with what it says on their webpage of the English : " Recorded during the worldwide pandemic in 2020, Common Ground sees the band continue their tradition of dramatic narratives but also tackles issues much closer to home, such as the Covid lockdowns, the separation of loved ones, the passage of time, deaths of people close to the band and the hope that springs from a new love."

In summary, 'Big Big Train' still come out in very nice album that mixes progressive rock and symphonic and confirms that the English is now an essential formation in this style which should still delight a good number of fans and lovers of progressive...

Line Up / Musicians

David Longdon (Vocal, Flute), Greg Spawton (Bass), Rikard Sjöblom (Guitar, Keybords, Voix), Nick D’Virgilio (Drums, Vocal) + Guests : Carly Bryant (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Clare Lindley (Vocal, Violin), Dave Foster (Guitar), Aidan O'Rourke (Violin), Five Piece Brass Ensemble

Artist : Nitrate

Album : Renegade

Release Date : 30-07-2021

Added : 18-09-2021

After 'Real World' in 2018 and 'Open Wide' in 2019, 'Nitrate' is releasing its third studio record 'Renegade' with once again a complete line-up change as, around founder and bassist 'Nick Hogg', it is now 'Alexander Strandell' ('Crowne' and 'Art Nation') who officiates as vocalist, twins Tom and James Martin ('Vega') come respectively to take the place of rhythm guitarist and keyboardist, the lead guitarist is now 'Dario Nikzad' and the drummer 'Mikey Wilson', with 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' coming to complete this beautiful lineup of artists as a keyboardist and as a deluxe chorus. No surprise, we find on this new opus the melodic rock that we knew with the first two offerings of 'Nick Hogg' and the 11 tracks pass by with memorable melodic lines and refrains that we all want to take back in chorus. From the beginning, with 'Danger Zone', we have a beautiful demonstration with this rhythmic composition that automatically starts the foot-tapping machine. The continuation continues with catchy melodies with the title track and then the addictive 'You Think You Got It' which reminds us of 'Def Leppard' and 'Big City Lights' with its keyboards which brings us back to the best of the 80s. After the beautiful ballad break 'Why Can't You Feel My Love' added in my ballad playlist here, it's back on again with tracks that could have all pretended in another era to be released as singles, the second break being brought by 'Lay Down Your Arms', between ballad and mid-tempo.

Bref, no surprise, 'Nick Hogg' continues to lead his project 'Nitrate' and it is not this latest opus 'Renegade' that can contradict me because it should undoubtedly make happy and turn in loop at the fans of rock and melodic hard rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Alexander Strandell (Vocal), Nick Hogg (Bass), Dario Nikzad (Guitar), Tom Martin (Guitar), James Martin (Keybords), Mikey Wilson (Drums), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keybords, Choirs)

Artist : Lee Aaron

Album : Radio On!

Release Date : 23-07-2021

Added : 13-09-2021

After returning in 2016 with 'Fire And Gasoline' and 'Diamond Baby Blues' in 2018 followed by a beautiful live 'Power, Soul, Rock n'Roll - Live in Germany' in 2019 (listen to this magnificent cover of 'Mistreated' at the beginning of the concert), the Canadian 'Leer Aaron' comes back for our greatest pleasure with a new studio recording and, the least we can say, it's that these 12 compositions smell good of a direct and efficient rock with always as much overflowing energy. One is thus embarked and this as of the first title "Vampin" in this involving rock which cannot put you in form for all one day. This communicative energy, we find it in 'Soul Breaker' and its rhythmic to take off the head by dint of headbanging or in 'Cmon' and its catchy melody or in 'Mama Don't Remember' full of groove or in 'Radio On!', slower but with a new addictive rhythmic or in the catchy 'Soho Crawl' and its enjoyable woowoowoo. The blues/rock is not forgotten with nuggets like 'Devil's Gold', 'Had Me at Hello' or the heavy but so effective 'Great Big Love' without forgetting 'Russian Doll' close to the rockabilly. And to finish, the two tracks 'Wasted' cut in two between ballad and blues / rock energetic and the ballad 'Twenty One' complete in a beautiful way this magnificent album with two remarkable vocal performances of Lee.

In summary, 'Lee Aaron', surrounded by talented musicians, continues to offer us albums that can be enjoyed from the first to the last track and this last 'Radio On!' is still the perfect illustration of this which destines it to a wide audience liking to navigate between rock and hard-rock direct with catchy melodic lines from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Lee Aaron (Vocal, Guitar), Sean Kelly (Guitar), Dave Reimer (Bass), John Cody (Drums)


Album : The Mutiny

Release Date : 23-07-2021

Added : 14-09-2021

'MOLYBARON' is a Franco-Irish formation that released a first self-titled album of the band noticed by the music critics in 2017 (listen here) and 2021 sees its little brother named 'The Mutiny', after a long gestation of several years, finally see the light of day for the general public. Not easy to put them a precise label, and that's their strength, because they embark us in a clever mix of rock, hard rock and metal sprinkled with progressive that they dust to deliver us original and innovative compositions with multiple influences and currents.

First, with 'Animals', we take full ears with a surge of power completely mastered, the melodic lines of the chorus being addictive and giving a crazy desire to take them back by screaming the 'lalalala' with 'Gary Kelly' who offers remarkable vocal performances throughout the album, then, 'Lucifer' continues in this feeling of urgency which, can remind, for those who knew as me the punk movement of the end of the 70s, this emotional strength to the listening of the first 'Sex Pistols', of course all resemblance put aside. Amongst 'The Boys And The Dead Flowers' which follows, more measured at the beginning, rises in power after about forty seconds and offers a new debauchery of raw energy with a memorable melody, then, we find the same process on 'Prosperity Gospel' with this tension which intensifies very slowly to lead to a chorus with a marked rhythmic and, in this title, 'Steven Andre' gratifies us with a remarkable guitar solo. With 'The Lighthouse', we think we have the ballad of the album with a stripped introduction but, after one minute and a half, the title takes all slowly of the vigor by putting forward an original rhythmic section of the duet bass/drums 'Sébastien de Saint-Angel'/'Camille Greneron'. The second part of the opus continues in this atmosphere filled with raw energy that tracks like 'Slave to the Algorithm' or 'Something for the Pain' attest and we can mention the addictive melody of 'Twenty Four Hours' which, for my part, makes it the undisputed hit of the album with guest vocalist 'Whitfield Crane' from 'Ugly Kid Joe', with the album ending with 'Ordinary Madness' with a composition that has nothing to envy to the others, with 'Camille Greneron' on drums giving us a final remarkable demonstration of creativity.
In summary, this second studio recording of 'MOLYBARON' is of extraordinary emotional strength and offers us an originality mixing different influences to make something very innovative which makes 'The Mutiny' an album that, like good wine, improves as you listen and should certainly please an audience navigating between rock, hard rock and metal and looking for new musical sensations...

Line Up / Musicians

Gary Kelly (Guitar, Vocal), Steven Andre (Guitar), Sébastien de Saint-Angel (Bass), Camille Greneron (Drums) + Guest : Whitfield Crane (Vocal)

Artist : Yngwie Malmsteen

Album : Parabellum

Release Date : 17-07-2021

Added : 15-09-2021

A few days after the release of 'Chapter III' of 'Lost Symphony', 'Yngwie Malmsteen' continues to release albums after 'World on Fire' in 2016 and 'Blue Lighting' in 2019 which consisted of covers. So we find this neo-classical hard-rock born in the 70s with a certain 'Ritchie Blackmore' who was the precursor in the matter to mix classical music with hard-rock. Since then, Yngwie has taken over and his first album 'Rising Force' from 1984 is already far away but he continues to offer us new albums regularly, 'Parabellum' being his 21st, released in July 2021, in which the guitar solos follow one after the other with always the same virtuosity and on the 10 compositions, only 4 contain sung parts ('Wolves At The Door', 'Relentless Fury', 'Eternal Bliss' and '(Fight) The Good Fight') the first formation that comes to my mind is of course 'Rainbow'. Some will denounce a certain weariness when listening to these albums which follow one another and inevitably begin to resemble one another, and one can indeed deplore that virtuosity often takes precedence over the emotion released but Yngwie does not hide from it and has always put the execution before all the rest. On this point one can only recognize that he is always the master in the matter and by listening to this fusion between classical and his guitar solos in 'Presto Vivace in C# minor' or '(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum' or 'Toccata' or 'God Particle', one can only greet the performances which offer to the classical melodic lines a second youth. We can also cite more classic compositions with the energetic mid-tempo 'Relentless Fury' which still brings us back to the time of 'Rainbow', the super classic ballad but so effective 'Eternal Bliss' or 'God Particle' with its introduction to the acoustic guitar without forgetting the final 8 minutes of 'Sea of Tranquility' (the sea is not so quiet as that finally) which summarizes all the guitar work of the Swede.

In summary, even if we did not expect a major revolution in 'Yngwie Malmsteen', the Swede continues to release albums highlighting his legendary virtuosity which has, over the years, forged his reputation what destines 'Parabellum' to an audience of informed who is a fan of neo-classical hard rock and long guitar solos...

Line Up / Musicians

Yngwie J. Malmsteen (Vocal, Guitar, Bass), Emilio Martinez (Bass, Vocal), Nick Marino (Keybords, Vocal), Brian Wilson (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Foghat

Album : 8 Days On The Road

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 29-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

It's still old backpackers from the 70s who have just released a live, I named the English of 'Foghat' who remember us fondly and who continue to travel the roads to offer their fans what they have always done better, good energetic rock that gives hell. Formed in 1971, the first album 'Foghat' will be 50 years old next year. Their main album releases date from the 70s/80s, then, after a reformation in the 90s, the 2000s decimated the group since 3 of the 4 members died and it is now the drummer 'Roger Earl' who continues the adventure with singer 'Charlie Huhn', guitarist 'Bryan Bassett' and bassist 'Rodney O'Quinn'. We therefore find the essentials of the group with 'Drivin' Wheel', 'Slow Ride', 'I Just Want To Make Love To You', 'Fool For The City' or even 'Maybelline' from 1972 with this blatant parallel with a certain 'I' Going Home' from 'Ten Years After', and we feel in this live the pleasure of sharing with the public which gives even more energy to all these titles. In short, as I use to quote this proverb, "the best soups are made in old pots", 'Foghat' is still a good example of old groups from the 70s still in activity to continue to offer us what they have always done best : good direct rock and so effective...

Line Up / Musicians

Roger Earl (Drums), Bryan Basstt (Guitar), Charlie Huhn (Vocal, Guitar), Rodney O'Quinn (Bass)

Artist : Powerwolf

Album : Call of the Wild

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 06-09-2021

I could sum up the last 'Powerwolf' with the conclusion of my last column devoted to the album 'The Sacrament of Sin' : " Powerwolf' continues to make 'Powerwolf' with so much energy and it is not with this last album that the we could say the opposite but, on the other hand, they do it so well that it would be a shame to sulk our pleasure... ". And yes, because albums of the Germans follow each other and they continue to deliver us (for 10 years now) good power metal with melodies that are grafted directly into your head and this latest opus 'Call of the Wind' doesn't make exception to the rule and will come to bring a little freshness, carefreeness and a few more decibels in the lounges of amateurs of this festive metal which will make them, for a moment, get out of the concerns of this health crisis that does not end.

The recipe is now well established : take a melody that runs through your head all day long, frenzied rhythms to knock your head off by dint of headbanging, riffs of muscular saturated guitars and grandiose symphonic effects with generous choirs, mix it all up and, to illustrate this with the beginning of this opus, the Germans offer you four compositions of formidable effectiveness with 'Faster Than The Flame' which serves us an explosive aperitif, then, the story of the beast of Gévaudan and its magnificent choirs in the second part (see video above), 'Dancing with the Dead' (see video here) and its heady chorus, and 'Varcolac' which reminds me of Russian influences of 'Imperial Age'. After so much energy debauchery, 'Powerwolf' splits into a magnificent power ballad with 'Alive or Undead' which should take a good place in concert then return to an energetic 'Blood for Blood' (see video here) in a very catchy metal/folk atmosphere. The second part of the album continues to scroll through memorable choruses and the 'Glaubenskraft', 'Undress to Confess' and 'Reverent of Rats' are added to the already long list of German anthems. And as he had done on 'The Sacrament of Sin', the deluxe version available on Spotify offers us, first, a second CD with songs of the Germans performed by artists of the metal scene with among others 'Doro' (very nice interpretation of 'Where the Wild Wolves Are Gone'), 'Ralf Scheepers' from 'Primal Fear', 'Christopher Bowes' from 'Alestorm', 'Chris Harms' from 'Lord Of The Lost' or even' Bjorn "Speed" Strid' from 'The Night Flight Orchestra' and in a third CD, The Germans of 'Powerwolf' offer us the orchestral versions which give a completely different vision of these epic titles, the orchestral and vocal arrangements being particularly emphasized.

In summary, this new album should, like its predecessor, bring together a fairly large audience of power metal who love effective melodies in epic atmospheres beyond you wildest and, even if we know what to expect now at the release from an album of 'Powerwolf', we are caught up in the game each time with these hymns which make you feel good and happy...

Line Up / Musicians

Attila Dorn (Vocal), Charles Greywolf (Bass, Guitar), Matthew Greywolf (Guitar), Falk Maria Schlegel (Keybords), Roel van Helden (Drums) + Guests (CD 2) : Ralf Scheepers (Vocal), Alissa White-Gruz (Vocal), Hegg Johan (Vocal), Doro (Vocal), Matt Heafy (Vocal), Bjorn "Speed" Strid (Vocal), Chris Harms (Vocal), Johannes Eckerström (Vocal), Christopher Bowes (Vocal), Jari Mäenpäa (Vocal)

Artist : Rian

Album : Twenty-Three

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 07-09-2021

After the two hard-rock and melodic rock albums by 'Hardline' and 'Toby Hitchcock' released a week before, we are going back in the same style and this time in Sweden for the second album of 'Rian' which had released their first studio recording 'Out of the Darkness' in 2017. Created by guitarist and singer 'Richard Andermyr' and joined by guitarist 'Tobias Jakobsson' for this second opus, they offer us 11 compositions that bring us back to the melodic hard rock of the 80s with of course a modern sound and the quality production is ensured by 'Daniel Flores' well known in the profession (among others in his latest releases 'Angelica', 'The Murder of My Sweet' or even 'First Signal'). And as often in this case, melodic hits parade one after the other starting with 'Stop' (see video above) that would not have denied 'Foreigner' and they alternate energetic and rhythmic compositions like 'In the Dark' (see video here), 'Twenty-Three', 'Body and Soul' or even 'Stranger to Me' with more measured tempos like 'Where Do We Run', 'We Belong' or 'The Passenger' and the quieter moments are well represented with the three tracks 'For You Heart', 'My Ocean' and 'Your Beauty'. In short, unsurprisingly, this second album 'Twenty-Three' from the Swedes of 'Rian' is added to the many releases in this style in 2021 and it is still a quality album that should be on repeat in loop in many and lovers of melodic rock/hard-rock because everything is done to get on the listener from the first listen...

Line Up / Musicians

Richard Andermyr (Vocal, Guitar), Tobias Jakobsson (Guitar), Jonas Melin (Bass), Jan Johansson (Drums)

Artist : Green Diesel

Album : After Comes the Dark

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 08-09-2021

'Green Diesel' is a folk/rock band that I discover with their 4th album 'After Comes the Dark', their last opus 'The Hangman's Fee' dating from 2017 and, listening to this latest studio recording that has just been released, we find ambiences of folk bands that make us go back to the 70s but also their music is tinged with progressive from that time which makes a very pleasant mix to listen to. We embark on a beautiful journey mixing serenity and lightness with a talent for catchy melodic lines from the first listening. From the first track 'Follow the River', the tone is set with a first playful melody and a catchy rhythmic on which 'Ellen Care' lays a delicate and jovial voice in an atmosphere that can remind some compositions from the beginning of 'Renaissance', then 'Northern Frisk' continues in this light mood with the accompaniment of the violin that reinforces the folk atmosphere. This is followed by the instrumental 'Dusty Fairies' which starts slowly but picks up the tempo after 2 minutes, with the violin again accompanying this catchy melody, then 'Sea Song' unfolds a slow tempo with a beautiful melancholic traditional folk melody and we find this same mood in the next track 'I Wish My Love', this time sung by 'Greg Ireland'. With 'The White Hart', we're right back in early 70's folk/prog influences with a slow processional rhythm that brings a psychedelic feel, then, 'Underworld' brings us back to the melodic lines of 'Renaissance' with a more energetic middle section between two parts with a slow tempo. The end of the album brings 'Katy Cruel', a more conventional folk track that may remind some Breton songs, then 'Never Reach The Dawn' is a more classic song with a memorable melody unlike 'Storm' which follows with a heavier rhythm and less direct melodic lines and the eponymous title of the album concludes the whole in a darker folk atmosphere with drums beating the measure in a supported manner.

In summary, the English of 'Green Diesel' perpetuate the tradition of a folk/prog of the 70s by offering us a very beautiful album filled with beautiful melodies that we appropriate quite easily what destines 'After Comes the Dark' to an audience liking a varied folk with some progressive components bringing us back to the 70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Ellen Care (Vocal, Violin), Paul Dadswell (Drums, Vocal), Matt Dear (Guitar, Vocal), Ben Holliday (Bass), Greg Ireland (Guitar, Bouzouki, Dulcimer, Mandolin, Keybords, Percussions, Vocal) + Guest : Chris Care (Concertina)

Artist : Big City

Album : Testify X

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 04-09-2021

It is again the label 'Frontiers' which distributes the new album of the Norwegians of 'Big City', created by the guitarist 'Daniel Olaisen', who are releasing their third studio album, the first two 'Wintersleep' and Big City Life' being respectively released in 2013 and 2018, their second album also including the compositions of the first as a bonus. Their style mixes hard-rock and melodic metal and this last opus has seen the line-up evolve since it is now 'Jørgen Bergersen' who officiates as singer (he is part of 'Rock The Nigh' a cover of 'Europe' ). Everything is therefore implemented to offer us 52 minutes of energy because apart from the power ballad 'I Will Fall', these are heavy compositions which parade with entry 'The Rush' which, after a quiet introduction (process that we will find on several other tracks), gives us a muscular and catchy track, the new singer 'Jørgen Bergersen' having all the power in the voice necessary for this style. The following shows the same melodic and energetic efficiency, and we can cite 'Testify' which was the subject of a video (see above), 'Conception' which alternates the tempos which makes it one of the most varied titles, 'Winds of the Road' with memorable melodic lines, or even 'How Dark Does It Get' which ends the opus with a long title whose construction is more sought after. In short, the Norwegians of 'Big City' are releasing a quality album filled with good energy which should seduce a public navigating between hard-rock and melodic metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Daniel Olaisen (Guitar), Frank Ørland (Guitar), Jørgen Bergersen (Vocal), Miguel Pereira (Bass), Frank Nordeng Røe (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Inner Stream

Album : Stain the Sea

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 09-09-2021

'Inner Stream' is a new formation produced by the Argentinian 'Guillermo De Medio' who is also one of the producers of a certain 'Tarja' and their first album 'Stain the Sea' was released in July 2021. Led by singer 'Inés Carolina Vera Ortiz' who is also the group's songwriter, they mix symphonic and melodic metal, with direct and effective compositions in a format not exceeding 4 minutes. This is what 'Massive Drain' attests, which begins the album with a mid-tempo composition accompanied by heavy guitar riffs in which 'Inés Carolina Vera Ortiz', who had made a name for herself with very beautiful covers (see 'Elan' from 'Nightwish' ici), shows all her talent in a clear singing with a powerful voice that she knows remarkably modulate according to the intensity of the moment. Then parade effective titles with memorable choruses and we can quote the catchy 'Fair War', 'Stain the Sea' and 'Last Drink'. In a less sustained rhythm, they also offer us mid-tempos which are just as effective with, for example, 'Hunt You' with remarkable alternations of intensity or 'If You Dare' and its rhythm which should make a whole audience headbang in concert, marked tempo that we also find on 'The Bridge' or 'Real' which ends the album and which could be a clever mix between 'Delain' et 'Within Temptation'. And finally, they have concocted to us two very beautiful ballads that follow each other in the middle of the album with the power ballad 'Dance with Shades' and 'Drown Me' a little more refined than the first.

In summary, we will certainly have to count in the future on this new symphonic metal group because the Argentines of 'Inner Stream' have all the assets to become a major formation in this style if they continue to deliver us albums of this quality...

Line Up / Musicians

Inés Carolina Vera Ortiz (Vocal), Andrea Seveso (Guitar), Guillermo de Medio (Keybords), Mitia Maccaferri (Bass), Nicholas Papapicco (Drums)

Artist : Heaven & Earth

Album : V

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 10-09-2021

'Heaven & Earth' is an American hard rock band that has been around for 25 years and was formed by guitarist 'Stuart Smith' and drummer 'Richie Onori'. They are releasing, as the name of the album indicates, their 5th studio recording and the line-up has constantly changed over the last 10 years and 'Stuart Smith' is now surrounded by singer 'Gianluca Petralia', bassist 'Lynn Sorensen', keyboardist 'George Barabas' and drummer 'Simon Wright' who officiated with the most famous band in the land of kangaroos, I've named 'AC/DC'. This new 12-track album takes us on a hard-rock journey back to the 70s and 80s with 'Drive', opening with a catchy melody and Hammond keyboards reminiscent of 'Deep Purple' and 'Beautiful', which follows, is a mid-tempo with a strong rhythm that continues in this style. This parallel can be found throughout the album on tracks such as 'Ship of Fools' with its swaying rhythm or the mid-tempo 'Poverty' with this time the vocals of 'Gianluca Petralia' close to 'Ian Gillan' or the muscular 'Flim Flam Man' with its introduction reminiscent of a certain 'Black Night' or 'Big Money Little Man' with this time a guitar solo that would not have been disowned by 'Ritchie Blackmore'. Apart from this classic and remarkably efficient hard rock, we can note 'Never Dream of Dying' which brings a good dose of progressive, the energetic blues/rock 'Little Black Dress' with its addictive rhythmic or to end the album in beauty the power ballad 'At the End of the Day' which brings us back to 'Deep Purple' and the ambiences of a certain 'When a Blind Man Cries'. In short, there's no need to go overboard, 'Heaven & Earth' takes us back to the golden age of hard rock and if you like bands like 'Deep Purple', 'Whitesnake' or even 'Rainbow', you should without a doubt adopt this fifth album by the Americans...

Line Up / Musicians

Gianluca Petralia (Vocal), Stuart Smith (Guitar), Lynn Sorensen (Bass, Vocal), Simon Wright (Drums), George Barabas (Keybords) + Guest : Mike Mangan (Keybords)

Artist : Anairt

Album : Nuestro Tiempo

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 11-09-2021

'Anairt' is a Spanish band whose original members have been making music together for almost 30 years and after a first period of activity in the 90's with the start of a studio album, They will only release it in July 2021 under the name 'Nuestro Tiempo'. Their style, that they define as Andalusian rock, fuses their Spanish influences with classic rock from the 70s and 80s to which they add a good dose of progressive. Sung entirely in Spanish, the 10 compositions beautifully bring out their Andalusian roots through beautiful vocal harmonies and the use of guitar and palmas (the clapping of hands in flamenco) and the ambiences released throughout the album are varied and give off a freshness and a communicative energy. We sail through catchy tracks with melodic lines that we make our own from the very first listen, and this is true from the start with 'Un avión de Papel' and we find this enthusiasm throughout the album with 'Respirar Tu Aire', 'Castigada Está la Mente', 'Subir Peldaños' or 'Nuestro Tiempo Acabó'. And when the rhythm section becomes more moderate, they also offer us some very nice compositions such as 'No Pasa Ná', 'Escaparme de Ti' without forgetting the remarkable ballads such as 'Ya No Queda Nada', 'Quiero' with guest star Pepe Roca from the group 'Alameda' and 'Una Fiesta de Colores'. In short, the Spaniards of 'Anairt' send us a good dose of Andalusian sunshine from their native Spain, transmitting all the warmth and spontaneity that makes 'Nuestro Teimpo' a very pleasant album to listen to and one that should appeal to a wide audience that likes festive and luminous rock with Spanish influences...

Line Up / Musicians

Luis Medina (Vocal), Adolfo Luis González (Guitar), Manuel Martínez (Bass, Vocal), Daniel Aguado (Drums), Paco Aguirre (Keybords) + Guests : Raúl Rivas (Cajón, Congas, Palms), Juan Espinosa (Guitar), Randy López (Bass, Vocal), Pepe Roca (Vocal), Ángel Ruíz (Guitar), Diego Ruíz (Drums)

Artist : Nick Wallisch

Album : Awakening

Release Date : 16-07-2021

Added : 12-09-2021

The continuation continues in this poetic and delicate atmosphere with 'Otherwhere' and its instrumental sections that would not have disowned 'Santana' or with the beautiful ballads 'Always' and 'Kicking and Screaming' or with the catchy 'Grasshooper Terms' and its various influences going from the South American music to the English pop while passing by jazzy sonorities, the album finishes by the cover of 'Nothing'. To sum up, 'Nick Wallish' releases an album with beautiful compositions that takes us on a relaxing sonic journey that should please a large audience that likes a soft and refined pop...

Line Up / Musicians

Nick Wallisch (Vocal, Drums, Bass, Piano, Organ, Keybords, Guitar, Ukulele, Whistle) + Guests : Brett Cline (Keybords), Ed Martinez (Guitar), Chris Forshage (Guitar), Bob Ammonett (Bass)

Artist : The Rolling Stones

Album : A Bigger Bang (Live)

Release Date : 09-07-2021

Added : 27-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

We know the excessiveness of the concerts of the 'Stones' and this concert on the beach of 'Copacabana' is certainly one of the rock concerts of the last 50 years which has gathered the most people because on February 18, 2006, there are more than one million and a half spectators who were able to participate in this evening. Already known to fans because it was already released in 2007, it is now available on streaming platforms and the setlist is now complete with nearly two hours of concerts. Then parade the essentials of this legendary formation which have always had immense international fame and 'Copacabana' is one of the most grandiose testimonies of this band formed in 1962 by the two childhood friends 'Mick Jagger' and 'Keith Richards' who has toured over the past decades (and continues to do so) with an ever-so-intact pleasure, a pleasure that they continue to convey to their audiences on every tour. In short, no need to add more, all you must do is press the play button and turn up the sound to fully enjoy these moments that have become timeless and, for the pleasure to be complete, nothing beats the video which has been released in different versions ranging from simple DVD to deluxe versions for die-hard fans...

Added on 08/27/2021: chance of the chronicles calendar of myprogmusic, this chronicle was written a few days before the death of 'Charlie Watts' who had been the drummer since the creation of the group and who died at the age of 80 on August 24.

Line Up / Musicians

Mick Jagger (Vocal), Keith Richards (Guitar, Vocal), Ronnie Wood (Guitar), Charlie Watts (Drums) + Guests : Darryl Jones (Bass, Choirs), Bernard Fowler (Choirs), Lisa Fischer (Choirs), Bobby Keys (Saxophone), Tim Ries (Saxophone, Keybords), Michael Davis (Trombone), Kent Smith (Trompette), Chuck Leavell (Keybords, Choirs)

Artist : Lost Symphony

Album : Chapter III

Release Date : 09-07-2021

Added : 01-09-2021

'Lost Symphony' is a new project initiated by two brothers, producer and composer 'Brian Goodman' and multi-instrumentalist 'Benny Goddman' and it is already the third album that they release in less than two years the first two chapter 'Chapter I' and 'Chapter II' being released in 2020. These 3 opuses are entirely instrumental by mixing the melodic lines of classical music with the power of metal and, for the occasion, the 'Goodman' brothers surrounded themselves with renowned guitarists from the metal world to which must be added the violinist 'Siobhán Cronin'. They have concocted for us in this third part 6 long compositions for 46 minutes of music and we are therefore embarked on a metal-classical saga which merges classical composers with the power of guitar riffs all this accompanied by the violin of 'Siobhán Cronin' which swirls around this debauchery of energy. The song that should delight fans of this improbable mix is 'Decomposing Composers' which takes extracts from classic works to 'metalize' them, but we can also cite other titles with 'Denial of Anger' which, with its melodic lines memorable and with these remarkable guitar solos of the metal convicts of 'Megadeth' joining those of a certain 'Ritchie Blackmore', propose us nearly 10 minutes of happiness. The Goodman brothers also offer us more measured rhythms with the mid-tempo 'Bargaining Depression' which navigates between quiet parts and others more powerful or calmer atmospheres with 'Acceptance' and 'Take Another Piece', both melancholic and in which the electric guitars and the violin bring beautiful moments of emotion.

In summary, 'Lost Sympony' is a remarkable instrumental project for all those who love a music combining the power of metal with the musicality of classical and if you liked the first two chapters there is has a good chance that you will adopt this 'Chapter III' again...

Line Up / Musicians

Benny Goodman (All Instruments), Brian Goodman (Compositeur), Cory Paza (Bass, Guitar), Paul Lourenco (Drums), Kelly Kereliuk (Guitar), Siobhán Cronin (Violin, Alto) + Guests : Marty Friedman (Guitar), David Ellefson (Bass), Joey Concepcion (Guitar), Jimi Bell (Guitar), Matt LaPierre (Guitar), Alex Skolnick (Guitar), Angel Vivaldi (Guitar), Richard Shaw (Guitar), Jeff Loomis (Guitar), Nuno Bettencourt (Guitar), Oli Herbert (Guitar), Ryan Formato (Guitar)

Artist : Hardline

Album : Heart, Mind and Soul

Release Date : 09-07-2021

Added : 03-09-2021

Hey, it's been at least almost a month since I last talked about 'Alessandro Del Vecchio'a nd the last 'Hardline' has just show up at the beginning of July, the last album of the Italian-American combo 'Life' being released in 2019. The lineup is now stabilized and they continue their way by offering us good melodic hard-rock and this starting with an explosive 'Fuel to the Fire' but, for those who like a certain variety, the whole is very balanced. with energetic and more measured bringing us back to an AOR of the 80s as shown by compositions like 'If I Could I Would' or 'Like That' or the melodic jewel 'Searching For Grace' or the aptly named ' 80's Moment '. And when the lights are dim, they have concocted two very classic ballads 'Heavenly' and 'We Belong' but which are yet to be added to the best melodic hard-rock ballads. In short, no need for long speeches, it is still a melodic hard-rock album to listen to in a loop and which should appeal to a large audience because all the compositions are very accessible and catchy from the first listen...

Line Up / Musicians

Johnny Gioeli (Vocal), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keybords, Chœurs), Mario Percudani (Guitar), Anna Portalupi (Bass), Marco Di Salvia (Drums)

Artist : Toby Hitchcock

Album : Changes

Release Date : 09-07-2021

Added : 05-09-2021

'Toby Hitchcock' is known to be the singer of 'Pride Of Lions' whose last two studio albums date back to 2017 for 'Fearless' and from 2020 for 'Lion Heart' but he also has a solo career in parallel and his latest album 'Reckoning' gave us some remarkable melodic rock compositions. 'Changes' is therefore his last baby and he has concocted an album filled with addictive melodies to have a wonderful listening moment. To do this, he teamed up with 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' who produces and participates as a keyboardist and bassist and who is multiplying releases now (see last review of myprogmusic for the last 'Hardline' which was released the same day). The whole is shared between catchy melodies that catch us from the first listen like 'Forward' which opens the albm (see video above), 'Before I Met You' which is a cover by the Greek singer 'Despina Vandi' (see here) or the AOR jewels that are 'Changes', 'Garden of Eden' or even 'Two Hearts on the Run' and other calmer compositions such as 'Tonight Again' between ballad and mid-tempo with a heady chorus that comes directly into the head or the two beautiful syrupy ballads 'Don't Say Goodbye' and 'Run Away Again (From Love)' or even 'Losing You' which ends the album with a last ballad that has nothing to envy to the previous ones. In summary, 'Toby Hitchcock' gives us a very nice AOR album with melodies that loop in the head and that take us back to the best of the AOR of the 80s/90s with, icing on the cake, a voice always so expressive and warm, which intends 'Changes' to a large audience in love with a classic melodic rock which has in a way become a timeless style...

Line Up / Musicians

Toby Hitchcock (Vocal), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Bass, Keybords, Choirs), Martin Jepsen Andersen (Guitar), Nicholas Papapicco (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Lost In Grey

Album : Under The Surface

Release Date : 02-07-2021

Added : 25-07-2021

After the first two parts of the saga of the story of Patrick, Lillian and Odessa, 'The Grey Realms' and 'The Waste Land', the Finns of 'Lost In Gray' continue their adventure and I quote their facebook page : "This time we are about to dive deeper Under the Surface, deeper underneath the world, the characters, and the audience participating as well. The band will be taking you on a ride through storms and tides spiced up with some sparkles of stardust. Thus we are wishing you good luck with finding all the treasures hidden beneath, and hoping you will enjoy the adventure ! ". And as they had done for the two previous opuses, this new baby is of a remarkable density and richness which naturally requires several plays to be fully imbued with it, always in this very particular style of symphonic metal to which they add a theatrical dimension highlighting grandiose choirs.

The instrumental introduction in a slight crescendo called quite simply 'I' is completely integrated into 'Disobedience' which offers an epic and energetic first composition which sets the scene and which deploys an addictive first melody supported by the lyrical song of 'Emily Leone', then, 'Waves' (see video here), introduced by an instrumental section of over a minute, features the trio of singers who complement each other perfectly and which each bring their vocal texture in a more tormented atmosphere. Follows 'Shine' which continues in more classical symphonic metal, and which ends calmly with a chime introducing the following composition sung in Finnish which offers us a beautiful ballad filled with emotion which has magnificent vocal harmonies. With 'Souffrir', the three guests, the Frenchwoman 'Emmanuelle Zoldan' ('Sirenia'), 'Camille André' and 'Andrej Kravljaca' add a vocal density to this symphonic fresco which takes us on a dense and varied sound journey that alternates different atmospheres with ruptures of intensity, the second part exploding after a quieter section a grandiose finale with a lot of backing vocals which makes it one of the strongest moments of the album. And it is with 'Stardust', a new epic and theatrical fresco cut into three parts of more than 20 minutes in total that the album ends : 'The Race' opens this triptych with an abundance of instrumental and vocal arrangements this which makes it one of the densest titles that you have to tame little by little, then, 'Sand Castles' begins more calmly and increases in power and alternates imposing choirs with quieter sections in which each singer, in turn, brings its vocal peculiarity, and finally, to close 'Stardust', 'The Abyss' pushes this grandiose symphonic metal to its climax, vocals and choirs taking up even more space with a sumptuous final supported by a completely addictive melody.

In summary, the Finns of 'Lost In Gray' complete the first two parts of their saga with a third opus of extraordinary density which should appeal to a public loving symphonic metal with impressive vocal arrangements and who deserve, if the Finns have the opportunity, to put on a show including a symphony orchestra as we are now used to in this style of music...

Line Up / Musicians

Harri Koskela (Vocal, Keybords), Anne Lill Rajala (Vocal), Emily Leone (Vocal, Violin), Miika Haavisto (Guitar), Jarno Suodenjoki (Guitar), Aapo Lindberg (Bass), Teppo Ristola (Drums) + Guests : Emmanuelle Zoldan (Vocal), Camille André (Vocal), Andrej Kravljaca (Vocal), Nils Courbaron (Guitar)

Artist : TANYC

Album : Tanyc

Release Date : 02-07-2021

Added : 26-08-2021

'Tanyc' is a singer/songwriter who released her first studio recording under the label 'gentle art of music' created by the members of 'RPWL' of which 'Kalle Wallner' and 'Yogi Lang' participate in the project of 'Tanyc'. In atmospheres of soft, refined, and sensual pop, she offers us 12 compositions for an little hour of music with a team of talented artists who put themselves at the service of her beautiful tender voice filled with an endearing sincerity all this being accompanied by 'an irreproachable production. We therefore let ourselves embark on melodies that we immediately tame with a kind of quiet strength that accompanies you throughout the album with for example 'Faster', 'Hide Away', 'Again' (magnificent vocal harmonies), 'Never Ask Twice' or even 'Labyrinth' (moreover in this last title, I find the same atmospheres as certain compositions of 'RPWL'). We can also note lighter titles with the catchy 'Loops on Fire' and 'Shoot' or 'Smile' and its joyful atmosphere but also very beautiful more stripped-down titles like 'Beautiful', 'Loops on Fire' or the magnificent 'Over and Over' which closes the album beautifully with new vocal harmonies that communicate a real emotion close to what gospel can provide.

In summary, this first solo album of 'Tanyc' is a beautiful journey into a poetic world that can be enjoyed quietly with headphones on and will allow you for a moment to take advantage of a moment conducive to relaxation, stopping time, to escape from this world which turns faster and faster...

Line Up / Musicians

Tanyc (Vocal), Heiko Jung (Bass), Kalle Wallner (Guitar, Bass, Keybords), Yogi Lang (Keybords), Nir Zidkyahu (Drums), Tom Norris (Violin), Stephan Weiser (Piano), Aaron Brooks (Vocal)

Artist : As Night Falls

Album : Awareness

Release Date : 01-07-2021

Added : 22-08-2021

After their first album 'Embrace The Journey' in 2016, the Poles of 'As Nights Falls' release a second studio recording 'Awareness'. For an hour of listening and 13 compositions, we find this mixture of a powerful and melodic metal which is eyeing more and more towards the symphonic. After the short instrumental introduction 'Come and see' highlighting sound effects, 'Strength' opens the debates with an energetic track with a fast rhythm which immediately shows that 'Anna Achtelik' now masters her subject, her vocal performance being quite remarkable and 'The Firebrand' continues this momentum with a catchy new melodic hit. The suite continues in memorable melodic lines with, for example, 'Shackles of the Mind' and its rhythm that will make an entire audience headbang, 'Before We Go Blind' which has its eye on symphonic metal with similarities to 'Delain', 'Canceled' and a memorable new chorus, 'Before We Go' with beautiful choirs accompanying 'Anna Achtelik' or the eponymous title of the album with classic melodic lines but very effective. And when the tempo softens, the Poles know how to offer us magnificent mid-tempo with 'Never Look Back' and 'Whispering'. As for the ballads, 'Place in Space and Time' and the last instrumental track 'Remember Me', which put forward a romantic piano, they have nothing to envy to the other compositions, especially since 'Anna Achtelik' shows also that in these more subdued atmospheres, she knows how to move us to tears.

In summary, this latest album from the Poles of 'As Night Falls' shows how far they have come in the last five years and they now have all the cards in hand to reach the same level as the tenors of the genre with this very beautiful album 'Awareness' which should appeal to an audience loving a direct and varied symphonic metal with accessible melodies...

Line Up / Musicians

Wojciech Muchowicz (Drums), Paweł Siruga (Bass), Paweł Dylewski (Guitar), Anna Achtelik (Vocal), Łukasz Siwy (Keybords)

Artist : Castanarc

Album : The Sea of Broken Vows

Release Date : 01-07-2021

Added : 24-08-2021

It was in 1984 that the Englishmen of 'Castanarc' released their first album 'Journey to the East' which was followed by three others, 'Rude Politics' and 'Burnt Offerings' in 1988 and 'Little Gods' in 1989 then, nothing more until this new album 'The Sea of Broken Vows' released in early July 2021, singer 'Mark Holiday' and keyboardist 'David Powell' having resurrected their group from the 80s (if you want to get a preview of their 80s production, you can go to their bandcamp page with the album 'Water From The Well' released in 2020). With 'John Spence' who produces the album and who also plays guitar, they have called on many guests and offer us a very nice progressive rock album in calm and quiet atmospheres and the first name that comes to mind the spirit is 'Barclay James Harvest' because they are completely in line with this progressive movement of the 70/80 period.

11 fairly short tracks between 4 and 5 minutes for a total of 50 minutes, this is the menu of this opus which begins with a catchy 'A Song Rings Out' introduced by sound effects and which takes us directly back to the years 70/80 with a melody that could have been written 'Alan Parsons', then, 'Lost Tears' shows a more moderate face with a sweet melody that reminds me of 'BJH', atmospheres that we find in the following titles with the beautiful ballad 'Full Circle' and 'In This World'. As for 'The Ascent Of Man', we embark for a peaceful rock of the 70s with a catchy rhythm, then, 'Walking With Angels' is a new completely addictive ballad on which we completely abandon ourselves and 'Out of Time' comes extend this beautiful moment with subtlety and finesse. More rhythmic, 'The Waking Of The Earth' takes us back to the 'BJH' period of 'Ring Of Changes' reminding me of the first CD I had in my possession. The end of the album scrolls the semi-acoustic 'Light The Fire' in which the flute and the folk guitar brings us back to the rural and poetic atmospheres of 'BJH', then the title song continues in this beautiful serenity, with a melody throbbing conducive to escape and it is with 'For The Want Of A Nail' that we end this remarkable journey with an introduction to the slow tempo that turns quite quickly into a beautiful catchy song that recharges us with its communicative energy.

In summary, the English of 'Castarnac' are coming back to offer us a very nice album by perpetuating the tradition of a melodic progressive rock that rocked us during the 70s/80s with groups like 'Barclay James Harvest', 'Camel', 'Supertramp' or even 'Alan Parsons Project'...

Line Up / Musicians

Mark Holiday (Vocal), John Spence (Guitar, Percussions), David Powell (Keybords, Choirs) + Guests : Neil Duty (Guitar), Pat Mount (Guitar), Pete Robinson (Bass), Charlie Morgan (Batteire), Angela Gordon (Flute), Steve Beighton (Saxophone)

Artist : Fargo

Album : Strangers D'Amour

Release Date : 25-06-2021

Added : 30-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Fargo' is a German hard-rock formation that I add to the rock/hard-rock/metal melodic playlist of the first semester 2021 releases because, after a first listen, the compositions of this new album released at the end of June 2021 are all very accessible with a series of melodic hits that one tames immediately. The band is not a new one because they exist since the early 1970s with a debut album, 'Wishing Well' released in 1979 and 'Strangers D'Amour' is their 6th studio recording and the second after their reunion in 2017, 'Constellation' dating from 2018.

'Rain of Champagne' opens the debates on a straightforward and catchy track quite classic but so effective and which whets our appetite for the future with, 'Gimme That Bone', a new rock jewel which gives esire to move and which should work fine live. Follows 'Closer to the Sun' in a more measured atmosphere then, 'Time' with its slow tempo makes us swing to the rhythm of a new melody that is simple but still as effective. What follows alternates between catchy and mid-tempo hits with, in the first category, the addictive 'Mary Says' which sets in motion the machine to tap your foot or 'Law of the Jungle' which has nothing to envy to its predecessor and in the second category, 'Dear Miss Donna Vetter' or 'No Reason To Cry' quite close to American southern rock or even 'Why Don't You' closer this time to ’Dire Straits’ without forgetting the beautiful ballad 'Homesick' that we want to repeat on a loop.

In summary, the Germans of 'Fargo' are releasing a very endearing album that takes us back decades with effective melodies that recall the best of those years and 'Strangers D'Amour' should appeal to a whole audience loving rock and melodic hard-rock of the 70s/80s which has now become a timeless style outside of all fashions...

Line Up / Musicians

Peter Ladwig (Vocal, Guitar), Tommy Newton (Guitar), Peter "Fargo" Knorn (Bass), Franky Tolle (Drums) + Guests : Hanno Grossmann (Guitar), Torsten Lüderwaldt (Keybords)

Artist : King Company

Album : Trapped

Release Date : 25-06-2021

Added : 18-08-2021

It is always a Nordic country that is in the spotlight with the Finns of 'King Company' who release their third album after 'One for the Road' in 2016 and 'Queen of Hearts' in 2018. Formed in 2014 by the drummer of 'Thunderstone', 'Mirka Rantanen', after two changes of singers in the last few years, it is now 'Ilkka Keskitalo' who provides vocals on this last album. 'I Will Be There' begins the album with an energetic title and a catchy chorus which is a good example of what to expect on this opus in a direct and effective style, then, 'Trapped in Heart' continues in a melodic atmosphere with less supported verses bringing a chorus with choirs that we want to accompany. In the same style, we can cite 'Stephanie' with its memorable chorus, the muscular hit 'Dangerous Tonight' which should run in a loop with a lot of melodic hard-rock fans, the energetic and fast 'Screen Is Your Life' with a heavy metal rhythm section or even the melodic jewel 'Fair Winds' in an enthusiastic AOR or even 'Nobodys Fool', certainly the most muscular track that comes close to heavy metal. And when the tempo is more measured, the Finns show other equally effective compositions with the magnificent power ballad 'Death of Soul', the mid-tempo 'Nothing for Free' with a chorus which should be taken in chorus in concert or even 'Stars Will Lead the Way', between power ballad and mid-tempo ending the album in style.

In summary, even if they will not revolutionize melodic hard-rock, the Finns of 'King Company' show that they have a talent to offer us melodic and effective compositions which are appreciated from the first listening which should destine 'Trapped' to a large audience loving an accessible melodic hard-rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Ilkka Keskitalo (Vocal), Antti "eversti" Wirman (Guitar), Jari Pailamo (Keybords), Time Schleifer (Bass), Mirka " Leka" Rantanen (Drums)

Artist : Endless Chain

Album : Forthcoming Past

Release Date : 25-06-2021

Added : 20-08-2021

'Endless Chain' is a new Finnish formation which evolves in relatively dark atmospheres being able to approach the Gothic style but with accessible melodic lines. Led by the multi-instrumentalist, also author and composer, 'Timö Molsä' and the drummer 'Samuli Mikkonen', they offer us 10 tracks for 45 minutes of listening. 'Forthcoming Past' begins the album in a heavy and majestic atmosphere with oriental intonations, showing a good example of the style deployed on the opus, the melody coming directly into our head, then, 'They're the Ones to Fall 'is more catchy and reminds me of some tracks 'Mono Inc' by the simple but very effective melody with a memorable chorus, growls doubling the clear voice of 'Timö Molsä'. With these first two tracks, we have a good sample of what awaits you in the rest of the album, which is divided between compositions with slow tempos like 'Hold out Hope' and more energetic climates with 'All of the Above' and its folk metal intonations which makes it one of the most festive titles, an atmosphere that we find in 'Scars on Me' or 'Nothing More' which, after a refined introduction, deploys a beautiful energy with growls that take the above on the clear edge. But we can also highlight more refined atmospheres with the very beautiful acoustic 'A Letter', the semi-acoustic 'Feel' with a mixed duo on vocals which brings real originality, the semi-acoustic mid-tempo 'The Wild One 'and its beautiful haunting melody or even 'The Memories' with its memorable chorus which again brought me back to the atmospheres of 'Mono Inc.'.

In summary, the Finns of 'Endless Chain' are releasing an original first album which takes us on a mix between the power of metal and much more moderate climates which should destine 'Forthcoming Past' to a public loving two styles quite far from each other, all benefiting from melodic lines that we appropriate from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Timö Molsä (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords, Bass), Samuli Mikkonen (Drums)

Artist : Dream Theater

Album : Lost Not Forgotten Archives: Images and Words – Live in Japan, 2017

Release Date : 25-06-2021

Added : 21-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

The Americans of 'Dream Theater' also chose this troubled liveless period to reissue the 'Ytsejam Records' catalog which was the label used to publish official bootlegs of live recordings. After 'Distant Memories - Live In London' in 2020, they are offering us this time 'Lost Not Forgotten: Images & Words - Live In Japan 2017' recorded in the mythical 'Budokan' which has seen a lot of big groups parade since the 70s (for the most old man, let's remember a certain 'At Budokan' of 'Cheap Trick' where the crazy atmosphere made us discover a crazy Japanese audience). Even if the duration is quite short (a little over an hour), this live highlights the entire 1992 album 'Images and Words' with this concert atmosphere which makes us share these unique moments of communion with the public and a remarkable sound recording. In short, a nice gift for all fans of 'Dream Theater' and for others, a good way to listen to this group which has become essential in the world of progressive metal, even if the album played in Japan is part of the period which, for my part, mixes progressive rock and metal. Note that at the time of writing this review, a second concert is already available on spotify with the live 'Lost not forgotten archives: A dramatic tour of events – Select board mixes' recorded during the 'A dramatic tour of events' tour in 2011 and 2012 and this album offers two hours of public recording...

Line Up / Musicians

James Labrie (Vocal), John Petrucci (Guitar), Jordan Rudess (Keybords), John Myung (Bass), Mike Mangini (Drums)

Artist : Styx

Album : Crash Of The Crown

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 18-07-2021

After the very good 'The Mission' in 2017 which had seen the revival of this legendary group, the Americans not having released albums of original songs since 'Cyclorama' from 2003 ('Big Band Theory' from 2005 being a cover album), 'Styx' releases a new album 'Crash Of The Crown'. Of the original group remain the vocalists and guitarists 'James Young' and 'Tommy Shaw' (who really joined the band in 1975) and bassist 'Chuck Panozzo' (who was the founder of 'Styx' along with his brother, the drummer 'John Panozzo' who died in 1996), 'Dennis De Young' having left the ship in 1999 and guitarist 'John Curulewski' having died in 1988. Casually, their eponymous debut album by the group will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022 and all fans of the band must remember repeated listening to the legendary 'The Grand Illusion' released in 1977 which, for my part, wore out a lot of sapphires from my turntable at the time. And it is clear that this new album 'Crash Of The Crown' has a little nostalgic taste because we find all the know-how of this formation which was part of the groups which contributed to the rise of progressive rock in the 70s. with this talent for magnificent vocal arrangements.

From the begenning, with the short 'The Fight Of Our Lives', we go up in the time machine with a title filled with magnificent choirs and 'A Monster' continues on this path all traced with these atmospheres so characteristic of 'Styx' reminiscent of a much more carefree time than the one we live in now and how good it feels to hear those luminous keyboards and radiant vocal harmonies again. Follows 'Reveries' with its light melody which transports us again and whose changes of tempos bring a progressive side close to 'Kansas', then, 'Hold Back The Darkness' is a magnificent melodious ballad in a more atmospheric style and 'Save Us From Ourselves' is the kind of composition that could have made an interplanetary hit in the 70s with its energetic rhythm and addicting chorus. With the eponymous title of the album, we continue in this atmosphere of the seventies with many melodic and rhythmic variations taking us back to the beginning of 'Queen', with vocal harmonies to spin the goose bumps (listen to this magnificent final passage from 2.25), then, 'Our Wonderful Lives' is a new unifying and universal melodic gem which this time would have made a hit at the time of the 'Beatles' adding yet a little nostalgia raising the emotional cursor even further. We stay warm on the little cloud on which we had climbed in the previous titles with 'Common Ground' in which we feel 'Todd Sucherman' having ants in his hands by starting a drum solo as we had more often in a time when the shows were not millimeter with computers removing a good part of the spontaneity in the current concerts. And we continue with the semi-acoustic 'Sound The Alarm' which has nothing to envy to these predecessors, then, 'Long Live The King' then shows that 'Styx' is diversifying and that they also have this talent to merge 70s rock influences with much more modern sounds. Follows the very short 'Lost At Sea' which introduces 'Coming Out The Other Side' with a new melody that 'Crosby, Still, Nash & Young' would not have denied, then, 'To Those' continues to enchant us with resplendent new vocal harmonies, the album ending with a new comma 'Another Fareweel' introducing 'Stream' which, with regret, heralds the end of this beautiful journey with a new memorable melody.

In summary, as you will understand, the Americans of 'Styx' continue to enchant us with a sumptuous new studio recording which shows this legendary know-how which offer us very beautiful melodic lines and admirable harmonies vocals with a modern sound which makes 'Crash Of The Crown', in a way, a timeless album that will undoubtedly become a staple of the discography of this legendary group...

Line Up / Musicians

James Young (Vocal, Guitar), Tommy Shaw (Vocal, Guitar), Chuck Panozzo (Bass, Chœurs), Lawrence Gowan (Vocal, Keybords), Ricky Phillips (Guitars, Bass, Chœurs), Todd Sucherman (Drums)

Artist : Kent Hilli

Album : The Rumble

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 19-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Kent Hilli' is the singer of the Swedish group 'Perfect Plan' and, with the help of two melodic rock stars, I named the well-known 'Michael Palace' (among others 'Palace' and 'First Signal') and 'Alessandro del Vecchio' (among others 'Hardline' and 'Edge Of Forever'), he released his first solo album 'The Rumble'. As you can imagine, with such partners ('Michael Palace' providing all the instruments), we are immersed in a melodic rock that smells of the 80s and we find the atmospheres of 'Foreigner', 'Toto', ' Survivor 'or even' Europe '. The set is therefore focused on moderate rock atmospheres and this from the start with the eponymous title of the album which would certainly have made a hit in another era, then parade compositions all as melodic as each other and we can quote 'All For Love' that 'Foreigner' would not have denied, 'Don't Say Forever' and its chorus that we want to take back in chorus, the melodic jewel 'Cold', another candidate for a hit of the 80s, 'Miss up to no Good' and its marked rhythm which gives movement or even 'Love Can Last Forever' with a new memorable chorus. The ballads are not forgotten with two pearls, 'Heaven Can Wait' and 'Still in Love', certainly classic, but so effective and in which, Kent transmits a real emotion in his voice. In short, we continue our journey of melodic rock with a new album which takes us back a few decades and which is to be consumed without moderation because 'The Rumble' is added to the already long list of 2021 releases which should satisfy a large audience loving the 80s melodic rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Kent Hilli (Vocal), Michael Palace (Guitar, Bass, Keybords, Drums, Chœurs)

Artist : Timo Tolkki's Avalon

Album : The Enigma Birth

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 20-07-2021

After the very good 'Return to Eden' released in 2019, it's only two years after that the new baby of the former guitarist of 'Stratovarius' sees the light of day. As we are used to now, parade a host of renowned singers from the metal scene with in mind 'Catarina Nix' with which he has in parallel the project 'Chaos Magic', the well-known 'Fabio Lione' ('Eternal Idol'), 'James Labrie' ('Dream Theater') or even 'Marina La Torraca' ('Phantom Elite'). This new baby named 'The Enigma Birth' is a continuation of what the Finn usually offers us with a mix of power metal with fast tracks and chorus to make sing a whole stadium and more measured atmospheres with heavy mid-tempo and magnificent ballads.

And it starts strong with the eponymous title of the album which propels us into speed metal in which the double pedal has a blast and which has a first unifying chorus chanted by 'Pellek' in a great form then, total change with the following title, 'I Just Collapse' which is a much more measured mid-tempo which is sung in a beautiful way by 'Catarina Nix' and which can recall certain titles of the joint project between the Finn and the Chilean, the addictive rhythm by making a composition that should work very well in concert. After this calmer track, we expected, in opposition, another energetic track but it is the ballad 'Reveries' which once again puts forward 'Catarina Nix' forming a very beautiful duet with the singer 'Brittney Slayes' ('Unleash The Archers'), then revert to, 'Master of the Archers' ', then, 'Master of Hell' returns to an energetic power metal with a remarkable performance of 'Raphael Mendes' which has a beautiful power in the voice for this kind of title. Follows 'Beautiful Life' which continues in a powerful power metal with the participation of Mr. 'James Labrie' in person, the singer of 'Dream Theater', then, 'Truth' and its fast rhythm is closer to melodic hard-rock with a new chorus that give the desire to resume with the former singer of 'Amaranth', 'Jake E' (see his youtube page here). And, sung by 'Marina La Torraca', the second ballad 'Another Day' comes to charm our ears with a chorus, certainly heard thousands of times, but that we want to play again and again with his solo whose melodic lines are very close to those of 'Hotel California', then, change of scenery with 'Beauty and War' which brings back an imperial 'Raphael Mendes', the rhythm section of 'Marco Mazzarini' bringing the energy needed such a title. The most epic and varied title of the album, 'Dreaming', is devoted to… Mister 'Fabio Lione', normal for the Italian who has made a reputation for himself in this style of compositions which happily alternate a double pedal with more measured sections. It is with the duo 'Jake E' and 'Britney Slayes' that 'The Fire and the Sinner' deploys a beautiful and melancholic melody embellished by a simple guitar solo but full of feeling, then, the refrain of the catchy 'Time', sung by 'Marina La Torraca', immediately enters in the head and stays there by turning in a loop. And to end this album, what better than a good super speed track with 'Without Fear' which recalls the opening track and in which 'Fabio Lione' gives us a last high-level vocal performance.

In summary, 'Timo Tolkki' gives us a remarkable new opus, varied, dense and accessible which alternates an efficient and energetic power metal and more measured compositions with melodic lines that remain engraved in our head for a long time, which intends 'The Enigma Birth' to an audience loving as much the power of a frantic power metal as melancholic power ballads...

Line Up / Musicians

Timo Tolkki (Guitar), Andrea Arcangeli (Bass), Antonio Agate (Keybords, Piano), Marco Lazzarini (Drums) + Guests : Aldo Lonobile (Guitar), Brittney Slayes (Vocal), Caterina Nix (Vocal), Fabio Lione (Vocal), Federico Maraucci (Guitar), Jake E (Vocal), James Labrie (Vocal), Marina La Torraca (Vocal), Pellek (Vocal), Raphael Mendes (Vocal)

Artist : Crowne

Album : Kings in the North

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 21-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Frontiers Music' is still the origin of this super group 'Crowne' made up of artists from the melodic hard rock scene who are from, guess, well from Sweden to not change. We find the singer 'Alexander Strandell' of 'Art Nation', the bassist of 'Europe', 'John Levén', the ex-drummer of 'The Poodles', and finally, guitarist and keyboardist 'Jona Tee' from de 'H.E.A.T'. No need to make you wait, this first album 'Kings in the North' is a killer with compositions that should loop in a lot of melodic hard-rock aficionados and this from the start with the first three tracks which bring everything together the best we can find in this style and which have also been chosen as singles with each their video: 'Kings in the North' (see video above), 'Perceval' and 'Sharoline'. Everything is there to have a good time and the continuation continues in this communicative energy with melodies which all become addictive. I could quote all the titles because each one could have been the subject of a single. In short, Sweden, at the origin of an impressive number of projects in this style, adds a new one which directly competes with the 'Palace', 'Perfect Plan', 'H.E.A.T', 'W.E.T.', 'Eclipse' or 'Autumn's Child' to name a few and, for melodic hard rock fans, this 'Kings in the North' is to be consumed without moderation...

Line Up / Musicians

Alexander Strandell (Vocal), Jona Tee (Guitars, Keybords), John Levén (Bass), Christian Lundqvist: Drums + Guest : Love Magnusson (Guitar)

Artist : Chalice Of Sin

Album : Chalice Of Sin

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 23-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Chalice Of Sin' is a new melodic hard rock project from singer 'Wade Black' (' Leatherwolf', 'Crimson Glory') who is coming to release via 'Frontiers Music' their debut album under the band name. We find unsurprisingly 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' at the helm but who also participates as bassist and keyboardist. 'Wade Black' has the particularity of having an atypical voice, recognizable among a thousand, of an old metal backpacker and his style is perfectly suited to the compositions of the opus which pour out good melodic heavy metal, certainly classic but always very effective with very heavy bass lines. The first tracks set the temperature of the album with a good dose of energy allowing 'Wade Black' to give the best of himself and compositions parade with lively rhythms like 'Great Escape', 'Whiskey' or even 'Sacred Child' but also heavy mid-tempos like 'Miracle' and the epic 'Stand' and 'Nightmare'. In short, apart from the ballad break 'Through The Eyes Of A Child' which contrasts with the rest and also shows that Wade knows how to adapt to much quieter climates, everything is done to satisfy fans of a power metal fairly conventional on condition of adhering to the rather particular singing of the American...

Line Up / Musicians

Wade Black (Vocal), Martin Jepsen Andersen (Guitar), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Bass, Keybords), Mirkko De Maio (Drums)

Artist : The Adekaem

Album : The Great Lie

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 12-08-2021

'The Adekaem' is a Polish progressive rock formation whose last album I reviewed 'Sound Coloriage' dating from 2017 and 2021 sees the release of a new album, 'The Great Lie' which offers us 9 compositions between 3 and 14 minutes alternating between progressive melodic and accessible with more complex and less direct titles which bring a creativity and an originality requiring to linger there to draw all the richness. Led by 'Andrzej Bielas' and 'Krzysztof Wala', they invited Polish artists from the progressive scene with, among others, the bassist from 'Millenium' and from 'tRKproject', 'Krzysztof Wyrwa'.

'Woodland Frolics ar 3 AM' opens this album with the longest track on the album in an instrumental progressive rock that could be a fusion between 'Pendragon' and 'Pink-Floyd', the sounds of the keyboards in the second part reminiscent of the atmospheres of the album 'Whish You Were Here', then, 'The Tigghtrope Walker', which still exceeds 10 minutes, takes us on a calm and serene acoustic ballad in which 'Marcin Staszek' poses his sweet voice and which continues in an Arabian atmosphere in the instrumental part with a very beautiful flute solo and the suite repeats the musical theme providing a captivating sensation, the final being more classic and returning to a 'Floydian' atmosphere. With 'Fool and Death' the more spirited rhythm unfolds a rock melody in which 'Marcin Staszek' shows a more energetic vocal register and the guitar riffs show a more muscular face, then, the second part much calmer, offers beautiful relaxing instrumental passages conducive to escape with a final aerial keyboard solo. Change of scenery with 'The Fall of Phaeton' which deploys a Latino rhythm interrupted by slow tempos and which in the second part develops an instrumental section with a guitar solo close to 'Santana'. There follows a new long development, 'Luminous We Are', which puts forward 'Floydian' keyboards in the first half, and which, after a rather short sung part in the middle of the title, continues with a new catchier instrumental part at the end of title with a repetitive theme on which follow one another keyboard solos with different tones. 'Sacred Geometry' is a fairly linear and not necessarily dispensable composition in which keyboards and choirs embroider around a very repetitive theme, then, 'Spontaneous Combustion Of Ego', entirely instrumental, is certainly the most complex title but the more imaginative by embarking on melodic lines with dissonant sounds releasing a disturbing atmosphere, the vaporous choirs on the final adding still to this feeling of strange. Follows 'Still, Constantly', which returns to a much more classical style through a beautiful piano/voice ballad with a new beautiful vocal performance of 'Marcin Staszek' and with sounds of keyboards close to strings. Finally, the eponymous title of the album ends this very varied album with a melodic jewel filled with subtlety and which has a magnificent symphonic finale.

In summary, this last album of the Poles 'The Adekaem' is still a great success and offers us compositions alternating accessible titles and others much less direct which intends 'The Great Lie' to a public loving a progressive elaborated in quiet atmospheres requiring a few listening to fully enjoy it...

Line Up / Musicians

Andrzej Bielas (Keybords, Vocal), Krzysztof Wala (Guitar, Keybords, Vocal) + Guests : Tomasz Holewa (Drums), Marcin Staszek (Vocal), Martyna Zygadlo (Vocal), Krzysztof Wyrwa (Bass), Jakub Bason (Flute)

Artist : Neonfly

Album : The Future, Tonight

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 14-08-2021

'Neonfly' is a British melodic power metal formation created in 2008 by guitarist 'Frederick Thunder' and who released two albums, 'Outshine the Sun' in 2011 and 'Strangers in Paradise' en 2014 in 2014. 'The Future, Tonight' is therefore their third album released in June 2021. They offer us 10 compositions in a powerful, melodic, and direct metal in radio formats between 3 and 4 minutes with a very careful production that highlights the intensity deployed.

From the first track, 'The World Is Burning', we have a good example of what awaits you throughout this album with guitars with incisive riffs supported by a heavy and energetic rhythm section. The sequel shows the same face with melodic compositions like 'Last Of Our Kind' and its memorable chorus, then, 'Flesh & Blood' is a typical mid-tempo of a metal that gives an irresistible urge to headbang and the title eponymous from the album that follows, shows a more hard face with the extreme vocals' Bjorn "Speed" Strid 'often invited in different projects ('Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen' ou ' Ronnie Atkins') but also singer of <'The Night Flight Orchestra'. The sequel offers us a melodic 'Beating Hearts' with heady choirs which should be taken up in concert by the whole audience, then, 'More Than A Lifetime', while keeping an important energy, shows a more measured face with a slower tempo and 'Another Eden', in a faster rhythm, is a lighter and direct composition which should work well in concert. With 'Steal the World', the more aggressive introduction then gives way to more measured sections with beautiful alternations of intensity, then, 'Final Warning', drives the point home of this modern and melodic metal with an original title and lively which, again alternates different atmospheres bringing a good dose of progressive and the album ends in a beautiful way with the power ballad 'The Things We Left Behind (And The Things That Slipped Away)' also showing that they know how to propose more measured atmospheres which, for my part, I would have liked more to bring an even more important variety.

In summary, the British of 'Neonfly' are releasing a very good modern metal album that combines power and accessible melodic lines which should appeal to an audience loving a direct and efficient metal that we appropriate from the start. first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Willy Norton (Vocal), Frederick Thunder (Guitar), Paul Miller (Bass), Declan Brown (Drums) + Guest : Bjorn "Speed" Strid (Vocal)

Artist : Social Disorder

Album : Love 2 Be Hated

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 16-08-2021

'Social Disorder' is a great melodic hard-rock band created by Swedish guitarist 'Anders "LA" Rönnblom' who brought together talented artists from the international rock and hard-rock scene with this debut album 'Love 2 Be Hated'. This opus is a kind of therapy for the Swede who tells about his struggles against alcoholism and the painful events of his life. Musically, we are immersed in a melodic hard-rock from the 70s/80s with nuggets that could all have made hits in another era, because each composition deserves to be mentioned. Whether it's the catchy 'Dreaming', 'Love 2 Be Hated', 'Raise a Glass' or 'Down on My Knees' that get you in shape for a whole day or good hard-rock titles like 'Windy Road' , 'Scara', 'Sail Away' or even 'Out of Love', we taste this album from the first note to the last note and the melancholy ballad 'The One' is not forgotten at the end of the album which finishes by the catchy instrumental 'Wings of Servenity'. Special mention to the vocal performance of 'Thomas Nordin' unearthed by the keyboardist 'Leif Ehlin' who comes to us from Sweden and who has nothing to envy to the many good singers that the Scandinavian countries have already brought to us with a voice that recalls the intonations of a certain 'David Coverdale'. In short, this first album of 'Social Disorder' contains 10 compositions with unstoppable melodies that will graft themselves straight into your head, which intends this 'Love 2 Be Hated' to a large audience loving a melodic and, in a way, a timeless hard-rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Anders "LA" Rönnblom (Bass, Guitar), Thomas Nordin (Vocal), Tracii Guns (Guitar), Shawn Duncan (Drums), Rudy Sarzo (Bass), Jeff Duncan (Guitar), Snowy Shaw (Drums), Dave Stone (Keybords), Leif Ehlin (Keybords), Johan Niskanen (Guitar), Fredrik Tjerneld (Guitar), Thomas Widmark (Keybords), Kenta Karlbom (Drums)

Artist : Angelwings

Album : Primordium

Release Date : 18-06-2021

Added : 30-08-2021

I reviewed the Spanish Angelwings 'first album in 2017'The Edge Of Innocence' which made a very good impression on me and their new opus 'Primordium' has been released in June 2021 and confirms my position on this formation led by the singer 'Davinia Cano'. The line-up has evolved as two new guitarists 'Carlos Alvarez-Nava' and 'David Durán Ramírez' replacing 'Paul Cano', 'Dani Durán Ramírez' replacing 'Darren Fa' on bass, and drummer 'Ismael Viera Giraldo' having joined the group in 2018, the core of the formation being formed by 'Glenn Cano' on keyboards and orchestrations, and of course the soprano 'Davinia Cano' who on this album makes me think more and more of 'Sharon Del Adel'. With 10 original compositions for a full hour of music, they take us on a symphonic metal influenced by the major groups of the late 90s with the lead 'Within Temptation' with many mid-tempos some of which require several listenings for get all the richness out of it.

The long development 'Genesis' begins the album with an epic saga offering a construction in several drawers adding a progressive component to this very beautiful track which alternates different atmospheres passing from an energetic passage punctuated by saturated guitar riffs to a much quieter part, 'Divi' perfectly adapting her voice according to the intensity of the moment, then, 'Primordium' continues with a rhythmic structure in perpetual change, which make it a composition less accessible but which reveals itself as and when listenings. In symphonic metal we are used to alternating between male growls and female songs, the best example being the formation 'Epica', but with 'Nature's Lullaby' which follows, the growls of 'Carlos Alvarez' accompany the song of 'Divi' giving even more strength to this title which superimposes strength and softness at the same time, then, 'Fallen Angel Song' continues with more classical symphonic metal while keeping an unbridled rhythmic section which brings a real originality. It is with 'Sail Away' that we have the ballad of the album which takes us on a delicious journey starting in an atmospheric atmosphere and which turns into a power ballad after 2 minutes, then, 'Dehumanised' is an instrumental comma which allows the transition with the next title, 'Trapped' which, after a calm introduction, gains strength quite quickly and presents a more complex construction bringing changes of intensity and a good dose of progressive. We find in 'Changes' this alternation of intensity and tempo with a melancholy central section surrounded by two catchy parts, the first of which contains a magnificent keyboard solo of 'Glenn Cano', then, 'Prayer' returns to more classical symphonic metal with melodic lines reminiscent of the beginning of 'Within Temptation' while keeping its own originality thanks to the alternation of different intensities and tempos and the album ends with 'Lies & Secrets' with a remarkable central instrumental section framing two parts lively, the vocal duo 'Davinia Cano'/'Carlos Alvarez' always bringing this beautiful complementarity of clear vocals and extreme voice.

In summary, this second album from the Spaniards of 'Angelwings' shows the evolution of the Spaniards towards a more sought-after symphonic metal incorporating multiple variations of intensity and tempo which brings a good dose of progressive and which destines 'Primordium' to an audience loving an elaborate symphonic metal who needs to linger there to draw all the richness...

Line Up / Musicians

Davinia ‘Divi’ Cano (Vocal), Carlos Alvarez-Nava (Guitar), David Durán Ramírez (Guitar), Dani Durán Ramírez (Bass), Glenn Cano (Keybords, Orchestrations), Ismael Viera Giraldo (Drums) + Guest : Carlos Alvarez (Vocal)

Artist : Seventh Dimension

Album : Black Sky

Release Date : 17-06-2021

Added : 22-07-2021

A little after the Argentines of 'Bastian Per', it's the turn of the Swedes from 'Seventh Dimension' who impressed me with their last album 'The Corrupted Lullaby', to release a new album, 'Black Sky', this time much shorter and which offers us a metal accessible progressive which can be similar to formations like 'Threshold' or 'Sons Of Apollo' and who still haven't had the recognition they deserve. Indeed, this last baby is a digest of what I like in this style of music with original progressive alternating all kinds of atmospheres and with melodic lines that we appropriate quite easily.

The instrumental introduction 'Premonition' which sets the scene with a memorable melody, is really integrated into the title 'Bad Blood' which reminds me of 'Threshold' with many changes of tempo and a unifying chorus that returns between each part instrumental, then, 'Kill the Fire' continues with a very beautiful vocal performance by 'Nico Lauritsen' who adapts his voice according to the intensity of the moment, the instrumental parts punctuated by the saturated guitar riffs being very original and whose last minute is quite remarkable with a magnificent interlocking guitar and keyboards solo. After these two energetic tracks, 'Resurgence' begins in a fast rhythmic then, the sung section brings remarkable breaks in tempo, the instrumental parts being imaginative and putting forward an impressive rhythm section which plays cat and mouse with the instruments. electric, then, 'Falling', softens the subject with a quieter atmosphere, between ballad and mid-tempo, the second part offering an atmospheric 'Floydian' instrumental part. We then attack the 13 minutes of the two parts of the eponymous track of the album with first of all 'Assembly', which shows all the instrumental know-how of these artists and which serves as a sort of rich introduction to the long development 'Into The Void' which takes us on an exotic journey through multiple soundscapes which overlap with each other and which has a very beautiful sung epic final which falls with a few piano notes. The short 'As the Voices Fade', which follows, is a beautiful melancholy transition for the last long development 'Incubus' which sums up all the richness of this album with an inventive composition that merges different styles of progressive by alternating sweetness and energy and which has a remarkable final.

In summary, the Swedes of 'Seventh Dimension' are releasing a quality album with everything you want to find in a modern progressive metal album and which will certainly be much easier to digest than the previous one which exceeded 2 hours which will certainly allow 'Black Sky' to reach a wider audience loving a progressive metal which, even if it remains very dense and requires several plays, remains very affordable thanks to accessible melodic lines...

Line Up / Musicians

Nico Lauritsen (Vocal), Luca Delle Fave (Guitar, Chœurs), Erik Bauer (Keybords), Rikard Wallström (Bass, Choirs), Marcus Thorén (Drums)

Artist : Chris Antblad

Album : Age of Concord 80

Release Date : 16-06-2021

Added : 26-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

We can't stop 'Chris Antblad' who continues to release albums at impressive frequencies and, after 'Age Of Concord IV', just 3 months ago, in a little over a year, he gave us four studio recordings which thus comes add this new baby 'Age of Concord 80' who has joined the playlist of melodic rock/hard-rock/metal albums for the first half of 2021 (see link above). This time, Chris offers us songs between pop and rock that take us back to the 80s and which all have very accessible melodic lines, the format not exceeding 4 minutes. We therefore let ourselves embark on very endearing compositions that we immediately appropriate and we can quote addictive melodies such as the light and happy 'It's Summer Once Again', the heady 'What If We Never Say Goodbye' which gives want to take up the refrain in chorus, 'Not Today' and its country influences, the catchy 'I'll Be Waiting' and a new addicting chorus or even the beautiful ballad 'Here Between Now and Forever' which closes the album. In short, in this summer period conducive to escape and relaxation, what better than to listen to this kind of music because this new opus of 'Chris Antblad' is filled with unstoppable melodies which are tasted with happiness, and which are to be enjoyed and consume without moderation...

Line Up / Musicians

Chris Antblad (Vocal, Tous les instruments)

Artist : Bastian Per

Album : Way Back Home

Release Date : 12-06-2021

Added : 16-07-2021

'Bastian Per' is the project of the Argentinian 'Sebastian Properi' who has already released a first album 'Epic Journey' which was the subject of a short live in 2020 'Epic Journey' (Live at Sonic Theater' (which you can see the video above) and whose formation evolves between rock and progressive metal with influences of progressive groups with in mind 'Dream Theater' ('Derek Sherinian' is invited for a keyboard solo in 'Greatness Delirium'). They bring us a new studio recording, 'Way Back Home', which is a concept album, " which deals with today’s poignant humanitarian issues and self-inflicted harm. The new concept album confronts the listener with philosophical discussions and existential dilemmas without sacrificing a bit of the band’s musical creativity and poetry along the way. The story revolves around leaders who have lost their focus and questions the impact of human actions, planting the seed to awaken a desperate need for change. " (their Bancamp page').

After the short acoustic introduction 'A Better World', the first two tracks debut the album in inventive progressive metal reminiscent of the early 'Dream Theater' albums in the 90s, first with the instrumental 'Overture' which deploys some breaks in rhythm and intensity and which has three energetic minutes and the title decreases on the end with the use of a piano (a real one with a great sound) bringing a classical touch and showing the strong bond with the keyboardist 'Derek Sherinian', then, 'Defeat Device' is more direct with a fast rhythm and a sense of urgency throughout the title. Change of scenery with 'The Lonely Shepherd' in the form of a mid-tempo unrolling memorable melodic lines in a calmer atmosphere, then, crackling flames announces 'Through The Fire' with its typical heavy rhythm of progressive metal and atmospheric keyboards introducing alternations between verses supported by heavy guitar riffs and contained vocals and a memorable chorus with more powerful vocals. It is halfway through our journey and the ballad 'Seize the Day', introduced by a remarkable piano instrumental section reminiscent of the late 'Keith Emerson' and which increases the emotional cursor, then, no transition for a 'Deadly Virus' which offers a new more complex construction, alternating remarkable sung and instrumental parts and which, in 5 minutes, makes it a dense title rich in progressive components. With 'The Mystery Behind', we stay in an imaginative progressive sporting disturbing melodic lines reinforced by spoken sections, then, the second ballad break 'The Safe Place' puts forward the piano delicately accompanying the bewitching singing in a first part and which gains momentum in the second part with the contribution of electric instruments. 'Greatness Delirium',which follows, is a short instrumental with a beautiful demonstration of the talent of Mr. 'Derek Sherinian', in person, then, it is the turn of the title song and the only long development of the album to deploy a composition well summarizing the different atmospheres of the whole, bringing together sweetness and energy, with remarkable instrumental sections and an imposing finale, the opus ending with 'Divine Device' which highlights the vocal duo 'Sebastian Prosperi'/'Mariano Barreiro' in an imaginative new progressive title.

In summary, Argentina and more generally South America, is not, strictly speaking, a country specializing in progressive metal, but, it is clear that this second album of 'Bastian Per' is admirable and can be compared to the best formations of its kind and this 'Way Back Home' should join the ideal disco of any amateur or any lover of progressive metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Sebastian Prosperi (Guitar, Vocal), Mariano Barreiro (Vocal), Gabriel Kohout (Keybords), Martin Sokol (Bass), Maximiliano Cataldi (Drums) + Guest : Derek Sherinian (Keybords)

Artist : Metalwings

Album : A Whole New Land

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 14-07-2021

I discovered the Bulgarians of 'Metalwings' with their first EP 'Fallen Angel In The Hell' and 2018 had seen the release of their first LP, 'For All Beyond' which already showed all the potential of this symphonic metal formation led by the soprano and keyboardist 'Stela Atanasova'. They continue their adventure by releasing a second studio recording of almost an hour and ten minutes and I once again fell in love with this new opus from which we had two extracts, first with the beautiful ballad 'Still Believe in Us' in 2020 (repeated in a different tone on the new album), then with 'Monster in the Mirror' in spring 2021 (see video above). Entirely written and composed by 'Stela Atanasova', 'A Whole New Land', I quote their 'bandcamp' page, "is a concept album, both in music and lyrics. We will take you to a whole new land where all predators and their victims live in harmony and peace ... Each song tells a different story of the life of a little girl in search of the lost land of her ancestors, a whole new land where once there was honor, dignity, beauty and strength. Where there was life, peace and harmony. "

Lovers of a symphonic metal in which classical music merges with metal, you are in the right place because, from the outset, with the eponymous title of the album, the instrumental introduction, which generally makes the object of a separate title, is completely integrated and offers us three delicious minutes of rise in power which leads to the sung part which alternates calm verses and an energetic chorus with a first melody which quickly becomes addictive. 'Monster in the Mirror' takes over with an up-tempo that highlights sumptuous vocal and instrumental arrangements then, 'Like A Willow Without Tears' shows a more symphonic side with a sophisticated construction alternating in a remarkable way intensities and rhythms, the arrangements still being as rich and dense and bringing together the softness of the violin with the harshness of the saturated riffs of the guitar. We also find these variations on the following titles, first of all, with 'I See Your Power' in which 'Stela Atanasova' moves us in the quiet parts and whose melody, in the form of a ritornello, turn in loop in our head, then, 'Silence' continues in the same pattern with a new captivating melody. Well placed in the middle of the album, with the acoustic ballad 'Still Believe in Us', we embark on a little cloud by the delicious and bewitch voice of Stela, then the second part of the album offers us 8 minutes of an epic 'Killer Of The Angel's Love', symphonic and grandiose at will showing the great strength of 'Metalwings' to merge classical symphonic music with metal, their Slavic origins certainly bringing that little extra that makes all the difference to the new melodic. Follows 'Wonders of Life', lighter, which takes us into a happy saraband, then, 'Passengers Between the Rails of Life' continues in this joyful atmosphere but with a more sophisticated construction with new orchestral arrangements much more provided. And to end this album in style, 'Second Chance' offers us a melancholy ballad of great beauty and 'Milo Moe Libe' reminds us of the Bulgarian roots of 'Metalwings' with a magnificent folk song that speaks of hope, highlighting the traditional flute, the kaval and with a magical vocal performance by Stela in her native langue that gives you goosebumps from start to finish.

In summary, the Bulgarians of 'Metalwings' confirm all the talent of their first album and stand out from other symphonic metal formations by an even more marked fusion between classical music and metal with beautiful melodic lines sublimated by a remarkable moving and captivating female singer. 'A Whole New Land' is recommended for a symphonic metal audience attracted by rich orchestral arrangements and a female singer with a lyric training...

Line Up / Musicians

Stela Atanasova (Vocal, Violin, Keybords), Grigor Kostadinov (Guitar), Vlad Enev (Bass), Angel Kitanov (Keybords), Nikola « Blackie » Ivanov (Drums) + invités : Ivo Kalyosnki (Growls), Georgi Dobrev (Kaval)

Artist : Brother Against Brother

Album : Brother Against Brother

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 17-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Brother Against Brother' is a new project that brings together the two Brazilian singers 'Renan Zonta' ('Electric Mob') and 'Nando Fernandes' ( 'Sinistra' ) under the leadership of the label 'Frontiers Records' and, which says 'Frontiers Records', also says 'Alexandro Del Viechio' who also participates in the project as a bassist. In the role of the big brother, 'Nando Fernandez' and in that of the youngest, 'Renan Zonta', who was known thanks to the show 'The Voice' in Brazil in 2016. No surprise, with the pedigree of the two singers and with the rest of the line-up composed of guitarist 'Jonas Hornqvist' and drummer 'Michele Sanna', we embark on a melodic and powerful heavy metal and the first tracks 'Two Brothers', 'What If' and 'City of Gold' are the perfect illustration, the first sending us a first muscular composition demonstrating all the talent of the vocal duo which works wonderfully on addictive melodic lines, the following confirming this communicative positive energy released and the third much more epic and taking us into an exotic journey in the form of a mid-tempo with a heavy and well-marked rhythm and, then, unrolling a new memorable melody. The rest is like the beginning with compositions whose choruses are immediately embedded in the head that only asks to headbang between effective melodic metal ('Heaven Sent', 'Haunted Heart' and 'Demons in My Head ') and grandiose and epic atmospheres (' Deadly Sins', and 'Whispers Of Darkness') and the only pause is brought by the acoustic ballad 'In The Name Of Life' showing once again the beautiful bond between the two Brazilians.

In short, this new duo of singers, 'Nando Fernandes' / 'Renan Zonta' came straight from the prolific boss of 'Frontiers Music', 'Serafino Perugino' who is very fond of these artists associations ( cf 'Allen/Olzon' and 'Allen/Lande'), even if they won't revolutionize the style, shows all the talent of these artists who offer us a remarkable album that should feature prominently on the shelves of fans of melodic heavy metal vocal duets...

Line Up / Musicians

Renan Zonta (Vocal), Nando Fernandes (Vocal), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Bass, Keybords, Chœurs), Jonas Hornqvist (Guitar), Michele Sanna (Drums)

Artist : Def Leppard

Album : X, Yeah! & Songs From The Sparkle Lounge: Rarities From The Vault

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 01-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

And to finish the playlist of melodic rock/hard-rock/metal albums of the first half of 2021, what better than to offer you the release of one of the groups that was the emblem of melodic hard-rock of the 80/90s, I named the English 'Def Leppard'. Of course, it is not a new album but a set of titles chosen in the period between 2002 and 2008, which saw the release of the albums 'X' (2002), 'Yeah!' (2006) and 'Songs from the Sparkle Lounge' (2008) : first of all, the first 12 tracks are B-sides or demos with tracks not necessarily known like this bonus 'Kiss the Day' from the Japanese version of 'X' or B sides '10 Times Bigger Than Love' and 'Gimme A Job' or the acoustic version of 'Now' or the magnificent piano version of 'Love' from the album 'Songs from the Sparkle Lounge'. Then, like 'Yeah!' was a cover album, the following 19 tracks are covers by different artists from the 70s which did not find their place on the album, the British having recorded a large number (we find in particular the bonuses of the different editions including a certain 'Space Oddity' from 'David Bowie'). And finally, to finish, and to remind that 'Def Leppard' is also a stage group, 8 tracks of live covers end this album in beautiful ways with these crazy atmospheres that they trigger at each concert and if you are fans of these supercharged concert climates, 2020 saw the release of both live with 'Hits Vegas' and 'Hysteria at the O2'. In short, beyond the original collectors of the British group, these 2h40 of very varied titles interpreted by 'Def Leppard' are a beautiful journey through time which should fill a whole public fan of rock and hard-rock who loved this splendor period between the 70s and 90s...

Line Up / Musicians

Joe Elliott (Vocal, Piano), Vivian Campbell (Guitar), Phil Collen (Guitar), Rick Savage (Bass, Keybords), Rick Allen (Drums)

Artist : Vince Dicola

Album : Only Time Will Tell

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 10-08-2021

Vince Dicola is an American musician, songwriter/composer who rose to prominence by composing music for films like 'Staying Alive', 'Rocky IV' or 'Transformers' and who has always been drawn to 70s progressive rock such as 'Genesis', 'Yes' or 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer'. 'Only Time Will Tell' is his first solo album in which he has invited renowned singers, since we find, among others, 'Steve Walsh' ('Kansas'), 'Stan Bush' or 'Mark Boals' ('Shining Black'). He has concocted 13 compositions for us which are all powerful melodic rock hits to which they add here and there some progressive elements like in 'Suffer The Children' sung by 'Steve Walsh'. The big names of melodic rock of the 70s immediately come to mind and we navigate in melodies that we immediately appropriate whether in an energetic style like the start of the album 'Bound & Gagged' flirting with hard rock or in much more peaceful atmospheres with melodic jewels very accessible that are the refreshing 'Karla' or 'Just Hanging On' and its memorable chorus or 'You're Not Alone Tonight' and 'Broken Glass' that 'Elton John' would not have denied or 'Only Time Will Tell' sung by 'Steve Walsh' which is very close to 'Kansas' in the second part or even the catchy 'Living in a Daydream', without forgetting the three magnificent ballads 'Miracles', 'Stay/Exit Wound' and 'I'm Not in Love for Nothing' which would each have made hits in the 70s. In short, 'Vince Dicola' shows all his talent as a composer with this solo album sublimated by beautiful vocal performances and 'Only Time Will Tell' is recommended to a large audience who love beautiful melodies that we want to repeat over and over…

Line Up / Musicians

Vince DiCola (Vocal, Tous les instruments) + Guests : Rick Livingstone (Vocal), Jason Scheff (Vocal), Ellis Hall (Vocal), Stan Bush (Vocal), Bobby Kimball (Vocal), Steve Walsh (Vocal), Mark Boals (Vocal), Bob Reynolds (Vocal)

Artist : Joe Bonamassa

Album : Now Serving :Royal Tea Live From The Ryman

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 13-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

'Joe Bonamassa' took advantage of the various global confinements to record a live of a rather particular genre because, like the Russians of 'Imperial Age' who had organized a concert at their expense, Mister Joe did not skimp on the means because he offered to himself the 'Ryman Auditorium' of Nashville to give this unprecedented concert in front of a completely empty hall but seen live by 20,000 fans. The concert is now available on CD and DVD since June 11, 2021 and mostly contains all the tracks from his latest album 'Royal Tea' (9 of the 10 tracks are played, 'Savannah' not being part of the set list) and the other 3 compositions are remarkable covers with 'Cradle Rock' by 'Rory Gallagher', 'Walk In My shadows' by 'Free' and a medley made of 'A New Day Yesterday' by 'Jethro Tull' and 'Starship Trooper' by 'Yes'. No surprise, this live is a real happiness from start to finish with an interpretation which further emphasizes these compositions and this authenticity of live, all this obviously benefiting from a flawless production. In short, this live of 'Joe Bonamassa', with his band of talented artists that accompanies it is still a real killer to listen to in a loop and intended for the general public because all the compositions can be appreciated from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Joe Bonamassa (Guitar, Vocal), Reese Wynans (Keybords), Michael Rhodes (Bass), Greg Morrow (Drums), Rob McNelley (Guitar), Jade MaCrae (Choirs), Dannielle DeAndrea (Choirs), Jimmy Hall (Harmonica)

Artist : Klone

Album : Alive (Live)

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 15-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

This live is dedicated to the French of 'Klone', whose last album 'Le Grand Voyage' dates from 2019 and, while waiting to be able to put their next studio recording between our ears, they offer us compositions recorded in various concerts between 2016 and 2019, their last live 'Unplugged', which highlighted the acoustic side of the group, being released in 2017. We therefore find this atmospheric atmosphere with this time the reconnected electric instruments which give this feeling of quiet strength throughout the concert and whose capture of the live atmosphere is rendered in a remarkable way. We are therefore immersed in the discography of the French with, of course, the focus for the last two opuses, 'Here Come The Sun' and 'Le Grand Voyage' since 9 tracks are taken from them. The whole is divided between calm and melancholic compositions with slow tempos in which one abandons oneself completely like the magnificent 'Yonder', the Floydien 'Breach', the melodic 'Sealed' and 'Immersion' or the hypnotic 'Nebulous' or still 'The Last Experience' and its remarkable crescendo but also other more rhythmic titles with 'Rocket Smoke', 'Give up the Rest', 'The Drifter' or even 'The Dreamer's Hideway', the concert ending with the very beautiful 'Silver Gate' which makes us climb on a little cloud and the muscular cover of the song 'Army Of Me' by 'Björk'.

In summary, this live album from the French of 'Klone' is a good way to relax with these atmospheres conducive to escape during this summer period and, even if some privileged people could see them in early summer at the Antibes Square Nights Festival, allows as many people as possible to share these magical moments of concerts in this completely crazy period of cultural scarcity...

Line Up / Musicians

Yann Ligner (Vocal), Guillaume Bernard (Guitar), Aldrick Guadagnino (Guitar), Julian Gretz (Bass), Martin Weill (Drums), Morgan Berthet (Drums)

Artist : One Desire

Album : One Night Only Live In Helsinki

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 17-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

After the release of their second studio recording 'Midnight Empire' in May 2020 and their European tour as the opening act of 'The Night Flight Orchestra' which stopped very quickly because of the Covid 19, the Finns of 'One Desire' still managed to organize a concert in Helsinki in October 2020. And even if this live did not allow them to have a full audience due to the pandemic, the lucky few participants show a real enthusiasm which gives a beautiful concert atmosphere. The set list consists of 12 tracks with one half taken from the first album 'One Desire' and the other half of their second album 'Midnight Empire'. So parade the melodic jewels of the Finns who show their ease on stage and this happiness of communing with the public with a concert start with catchy compositions, the break with the 3 ballads 'This Is Where The Heartbreak Begins', 'Only When I Breathe' and 'Falling Apart' well placed allowing for a remarkable well-deserved break, then the end of the concert returns to melodic jewels with 'After You're Gone' and its chorus taken up by the whole audience, the catchy 'Whenever I'm Dreaming', their hit 'Hurt' and, in final bouquet, a mix of 'Buried Alive' and its fast rhythm and the catchy 'Battlefield of Love'. In short, this magnificent live performance of the Finns of 'One Desire' shows that they will have to be reckoned with in the future to compete with all the melodic rock and hard-rock groups of which the Scandinavian countries are the main providers and that they will very quickly go from the first parts to the main group in concert...

Line Up / Musicians

Andre Linman (Vocal), Jimmy Westerlund (Guitar, Vocal), Jonas Kulhberg (Bass), Ossi Sivula (Drums)

Artist : KISS

Album : KISS Off The Soundboard: Tokyo 2001 (Live)

Release Date : 11-06-2021

Added : 19-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

Go back 20 years with the anniversary of the 'KISS' concert in Tokyo in 2001. For those who have not known the 70s/80s, 'KISS' is an American hard-rock group internationally known for two decades and whose the members performed in concert with make-up and costumes that were extravagant to say the least. While waiting for their farewell tour in 2022, they therefore come out of the recordings of concerts and this live in Tokyo (the Japanese have always been unconditional fans of the Americans) plunges us back into these crazy atmospheres of their concerts of the time with a set-list well supplied since it is more than two hours available to us. We find the essential titles with 'Detroit Rock City', 'Firehouse', 'Calling Dr. Love', the ballad 'I Still Love You', 'Black Diamond' and 'Rock And Roll All Nite' and, of course, the hit interplanetary 'I Was Made For Lovin' You '. In short, beyond the fans of the Americans, this live album is a good way for others to discover this legendary group and the live atmospheres of that time (see the video above from 'Love Gun') with, icing on the cake, long improvised solos that embellished the concerts with among others, for this one, a guitar solo in 'Shock Me' and a drum solo in 'God of Thunder'...

Line Up / Musicians

Paul Stanley (Guitar, Vocal), Ace Frehley (Guitar, Vocal, Chœurs), Gene Simmons (Bass, Vocal), Eric Singer (Drums, Percussions , Vocal, Chœurs)

Artist : Kens Dojo

Album : The Future Looks Bright

Release Date : 07-06-2021

Added : 15-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Kens Dojo' is a solo project by Norwegian guitarist, songwriter and producer 'Ken Ingwersen' who plays in the band 'Wonderworld' and who has participated in some studio and live albums of the late 'Ken Hensley'. After a first album more than ten years ago, 2021 sees the release of 'The Future Looks Bright'. With an impressive palette of guest singers, he has concocted a varied melodic rock album with 10 compositions that can be listened to happily starting with 'I Wait For Nothing' with a memorable first chorus, then 'Raining Down', which follows. , brings a certain variety with a remarkable instrumental break in the middle of the title between two sung parts and integrates two short guitar and keyboards solos taking us back to the golden age of hard rock. What follows is more classic in a moderate AOR with first the mid-tempo 'Touch The Sky' in which singer 'Brandon Baumann' shows all his vocal talent and which still allows Kens to shine with his guitar, then, the atmosphere is subdued for a magnificent ballad, 'Gone', with a chorus which spins for a long time in the head. Change of style with 'Just An Illusion' with a fairly classic but very effective energetic hard-rock track, followed by a rhythmic 'Never Forget' taking us back to the 80s with a new addicting chorus. Follows the magnificent instrumental 'Longhaired Blues' reminding that 'Ken Ingwersen' is above all a talented guitarist and offers us a beautiful performance in a melancholy blues atmosphere by literally making singing his guitar. The last two songs sung 'The Future Looks Bright' and 'Sun Goes Down' each bring their own atmosphere with for the first a delicious mid-tempo and for the second a lively rhythm that gives an irresistible desire to headbang, the album ending with a second instrumental that has nothing to envy to the first in the style of a 'Europa' of 'Santana' and which shows once again all the feeling of Ken.

In short, thanks to a collaboration with multiple singers, 'Ken Ingwersen' offers us a very good album offering a nice variety of compositions, between AOR and melodic hard-rock, and 'The Future Looks Bright' should appeal to a large audience because all the titles are very melodic and can be appreciated from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Ken Ingwersen (Guitar) + Guests : Andrew Freeman (Vocal), Rasmus Andersen (Vocal), Scott Foster Harris (Vocal), Åge Sten Nilsen (Vocal), Chesney Hawkes (Vocal), Truls Haugen (Vocal), Brandon Baumann (Vocal), Ray Van D (Vocal)

Artist : Rhapsody Of Fire

Album : I'll Be Your Hero

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 06-07-2021

After 'The Eighth Mountain' in 2019, the Italians of 'Rhapsody Of Fire' release an EP which contains only one original title but whose other titles are a fairly representative sample of this formation. First, the new composition, 'I'll Be Your Hero' is typical of a flamboyant power metal as the band of 'Alex Staropoli' knows so well to do and offers us a real melodic hit which will certainly take a good place in future concerts. Then, the soft side of the group is represented by two titles, first of all the cover of 'Where Dragons Fly' which already dates from 1998 with influences of medieval music, and then, another cover, that of 'The Wind, The Rain And The Moon' from the last album which is available in 4 versions, English, Italian, Spanish and French, it's up to you to choose yours. Finally, two live tracks 'Rain of Fury' and 'The Courage to Forgive' allow you to remember the warm and joyful atmospheres that this formation offers to its audience at each concert which is a real moment of communion with the audience. In short, this short EP will undoubtedly make it possible to make the fans wait before the next album and perhaps to introduce the Italians of 'Rhapsody Of Fire' to an audience that does not know them yet because we have a very good sample of know-how of the Italians...

Line Up / Musicians

Giacomo Voli (Vocal), Alex Staropoli (Keybords), Roby De Micheli (Guitar), Alessandro Sala (Bass), Paolo Marchesich (Drums)

Artist : Eyes

Album : Vision 20/20

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 11-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Eyes' is not really a new formation because four of the five members were part of the group 'Aces High' in the 1990s/2000s with 3 albums, 'Ten 'n' Out' in 1994, 'Pull No Punches' in 1998 and 'Forgive and Forget' in 2004. After a reunion for a concert in 2012, the band members decided to continue the adventure and rewrite new songs with finally a new album 'Vision 20/20' has been released in June 2021. Given the pedigree of these artists, no surprise, we find ourselves with influences from the major melodic rock formations of the 80s and the energetic 'Playing to Win' or the mid-tempo 'Turn of Your Life' which debut the album are well in the atmosphere of 'Foreigner', 'Journey', 'Survivor' or even 'Boston'. The introduction of 'This Is Us' is sure to remind melodic rock fans of a certain interplanetary hit of 'Foreigner' and the ensemble is split between energetic compositions like 'Falling In Between' (The Joker) ',' Shot Down in Flames 'or the catchy and melodic final title' Cry Another Day 'and others in a more moderate tempo with' Get out of My Head ',' Never Back Down ',' More Than Meets the Eye 'or' In The Matrix '. In short, if you are fans of melodic rock from the groups mentioned above, there is a good chance that you will adhere to the revival of 'Aces High', renamed 'Eyes' and which are releasing a studio recording very pleasant to listen to and entirely in the continuity of their production in the years 1990/2000...

Line Up / Musicians

Peter Andersson (Vocal), Anders Sellborn (Bass), Björn H. Lindbäck (Drums), Joakim Sandberg (Guitar), Åke David Rickard (Keybords)

Artist : Van Canto

Album : To the Power of Eight

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 12-07-2021

After their double album 'Trust in Rust' released in 2018, the Germans of 'Van Canto' continue their metal adventure in capella to offer us a new studio recording, 'To the Power of Eight' which features 8 original compositions and 4 covers, one by the Swedish group of melodic death metal 'Amon Amarth' and 3 iconic rock and hard-rock tracks from the 80s/90s, 'Run To The Hills' from 'Iron Maiden', 'Thunderstruck' from 'AC/DC' and 'I Want It All' from 'Queen'. After a magnificent introduction that you can found in the teaser above, energetic tracks parade one after the other, this time highlighting a trio of singers, since in addition to 'Inga Scharf' and 'Hagen Hirschmann', the former singer of the group 'Philip Dennis 'Sly' Schunke' was invited for the occasion and participates in the whole of this opus. After an unleashed 'Dead By The Night' showing all the energy deployed by this atypical formation, we are carried by melodic lines that we immediately appropriate and 'Faith Focus' (see video here), 'Falling Down' (see video here) and 'Heads Up High' are three typical examples with choruses that immediately become embedded in the head and with still remarkable vocal arrangements. And when the lights are dim, the Germans take us on a journey to calmer but just as addictive atmospheres represented by a magnificent 'Turn Back Time'. We can also note that the four covers are remarkable with this talent to imitate the electric instruments as in 'Thunderstruck' and 'I Want It All', meanwhile, show very beautiful vocal harmonies.

In summary, the Germans of 'Van Canto' are releasing another very nice album which is already the eighth since their debut in 2006 with 'A Storm to Come' and 'To the Power of Eight' should, beyond metal fans, satisfy an audience loving beautiful vocal harmonies in energetic musical atmospheres...

Line Up / Musicians

Hagen Hirschmann (Vocal), Inga Scharf (Vocal), Ross Thompson (Vocal), Stefan Schmidt (Vocal), Jan Moritz (Vocal, Choirs), Ingo Sterzinger (Vocal, Choirs), Bastian Emig (Drums, Choirs) + Guest : Philip Dennis ‘Sly’ Schunke (Vocal)

Artist : Nine Skies

Album : 5.20

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 06-08-2021

'Nine Skies' is a French progressive rock formation which released two studio recordings 'Return Home' in 2017 and 'Sweethearts Grips' in 2019 and 2021 saw the release a few months ago of a new opus '5.20' which highlights the acoustic side of the group with calm atmospheres conducive to escape and dream that we really need during all this troubled period. We are therefore immersed in compositions mostly accompanied by acoustic guitar, strings and piano, and the French have expanded their line-up since 'Achraf Elasraoui' completes the vocal section and brings a kind of "delicate warmth" to this latest album.

'Colourblind' sets the scene in a tranquil atmosphere with soft arpeggios of acoustic guitar and with a very expressive vocals from 'Achraf Elasraoui', the aerial finale highlighting a 'Floydian' saxophone, then, 'Wilderness' accelerates the pace with 'Steve Hackett' invited for the occasion bringing a delicacy thanks to his inimitable touch. Follows the short instrumental 'Beauty of Decay' which joins the acoustic guitar moods of 'Under A Mediterranean Sky' that 'Steve Hackett' released in early 2021, then, 'Golden Drops' continues this beautiful journey with a superb vocal performance by 'Achraf Elasraoui' which modulates its singing in the oriental way and with superb instrumental arrangements whether at the level of the strings bringing this total change of scenery which transports us to a sort of unreal atmosphere. With 'Above the Tide', we continue our journey with a new title filled with emotion, this time with a remarkable crescendo in the second part highlighting the vocal duo 'Alienor Favier'/'Achraf Elasraoui', the strings bringing a extraordinary strength to the whole, the final falling in some arpeggios of acoustic guitar accompanied by the softness of the violin. New acoustic instrumental prank with 'Dear Mind' bringing a new break of sweetness, then, 'The Old Man in the Snow' is a beautiful acoustic ballad filled with delicacy in which final of 'John Hackett' with his flute is simply sublime. Follows 'Godless Land' with a more complex structure to tame but which shows all the vocal talent of 'Achraf Elasraoui' which conveys a real emotion, then, 'Porcelain Hill' is a new melancholy ballad sublimated by a magnificent interpretation of 'Damian Wilson' who is became in 2020 the new singer of 'Arena' replacing 'Paul Manzi'. New entirely instrumental piece, this time for piano, 'Achristas' is makes us wander the mind to the rhythm of a sweet melody with very beautiful rhythmic variations, then, 'Smiling Stars' ends this very beautiful album on a new composition more intimate unrolling a slow melody with a last very sensual saxophone solo which sums up the atmosphere of the whole.

In summary, this new album from the French of 'Nine Skies' shows a more refined face compared to their previous productions but just as endearing because '5.20' takes us on a beautiful dreamlike and exotic journey made of magnificent compositions that are quietly enjoy the headphones on their ears...

Line Up / Musicians

Achraf Elasraoui (Vocal, Guitar), Alexandre Lamia (Guitar, Keybords), Alienor Favier (Vocal), Anne-claire Rallo (Keybords), Bernard Hery (Bass), David Darnaud (Guitar), Eric Bouillette (Guitar, Piano), Fad Galia (Drums), Laurent Benhamou (Saxophone) + Guests : John Hackett (Flute), Damian Wilson (Vocal), Steve Hackett (Guitar)

Artist : Therion

Album : Live in Budapest 2007

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 09-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

'Live in Budapest 2007' is this time the first DVD of Adulruna Rediviva And Beyond 'released in 2014 which is offered to us in streaming. This concert celebrated the 20 years of the creation of the group and 'Therion', led by its leader 'Christofer Johnsson' had made things big since it is 2 and a half hours of concert that are offered to us with the official line-up of the era consisting of 'Christofer Johnsson' and 'Kristian Niemann' on guitar, 'Johan Niemann' on bass, 'Ferdy Doernberg' on keyboards and 'Petter Karlsson' on drums as well as vocalists' Snowy Shaw 'and' Thomas Vikström 'as well as' Lori Lewis' who at the time was invited with also' Piotr Wawrzeniuk 'and' Messiah Marcolin '. All of 'Theli' had been played there as well as 15 other tracks from the albums 'Vovin', 'Deggial', 'Secret of the Runes', 'Lemuria', 'Sirius B' and the last album released. at that time, 'Gothic Kabbalah'. In summary, the two concerts of 'Therion' released on DVD in 2014 are now available in streaming and allow you to hear or hear again the prosperous period of this formation between the end of the 90s and the end of the 2000s with all the albums mentioned above which have become essential for all fans of 'Therion'...

Line Up / Musicians

Christofer Johnsson (Guitar), Snowy Shaw (Vocal), Thomas Vikström (Vocal), Kristian Niemann (Guitar), Johan Niemann (Bass), Ferdy Doernberg (Keybords), Petter Karlsson (Drums) + Guests : Lori Lewis (Vocal), Piotr Wawrzeniuk (Vocal), Messiah Marcolin (Vocal)

Artist : Chain Reaktor

Album : Homesick

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 08-08-2021

'Chain Reaktor' is a formation of Dutch origin created by 2 brothers, Bart and Arjan Laan, both members of the group a href='' target='_ blank'>'Skylake' and whose father 'Erik Laan' (who also participates in the adventure) is not a stranger since he is part of the group 'Silhouette'. They release their first studio recording 'Homesick' which takes us for an hour of melodic progressive mixing different styles in relatively complex constructions.

It is with 'The Day That Never Come' that album begins with a long development typical of a rich and varied progressive which requires to linger there to tame it well and which shows all the talent as well vocal as instrumental of this formation with magnificent choirs and interventions of keyboards and flute embroidering around the melodic theme, then, 'Lonely City' continues, without transition with a calm and aerial introduction with still the flute of 'Bart Laan' but which after a minute and a half, takes off for a catchy rhythm with some rhythmic breaks throughout the title and a very beautiful final guitar solo. More direct, 'Enjoy Your Life' offers us an endearing melody in a catchy mid-tempo, then, 'The Lying King' returns to more complex progressive, the vocal harmonies being remarkable and the changes in intensity taking us through sections with saturated electric guitar riffs to more measured parts accompanied by the violin of 'Sophie Zaaijer' while having accessible melodic lines. New long development with the eponymous title of the album which this time unfolds at a slow tempo with the contribution of the acoustic instruments, violin, piano, guitar and saxophone and which takes us on a melancholy first part and which, at the middle, accelerates the rhythm and hardens the tone with a long instrumental part alternating guitar solo and energetic keyboards and whose sung finale is more measured. 'Stop Yelling' continues in refined progressive in several much less direct drawers, the rhythm section leading the dance with multiple tempo changes, the finale returning to much more accessible melodic lines. And it is with 'A Thousand Diamonds', summing up the style of this formation, that the album ends with a last memorable melody sublimated by very beautiful choirs and beautiful instrumental sections.

In summary, the new project 'Chain Reaktor' of the Laan family is very promising and shows all the talent of the Dutch to embark us in rich and inventive compositions that should appeal to an audience loving progressive albums to discover little by little, listen after listen...

Line Up / Musicians

Arjan Laan (Drums, Percussions), Bart Laan (Guitar, Flute, Vocal), Erik Laan (Keybords, Vocal), Mark Op Ten Berg (Bass) + Guests : Sophie Zaaijer (Violin), Suzan Van Den Engel (Choirs), Martin Streckfuss (Saxophone)

Artist : Maiden United

Album : Sailors of the Sky (Live in Europe)

Release Date : 04-06-2021

Added : 31-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

'Maiden United' is a band which covers compositions of 'Iron Maiden' but by rearranging them in semi-acoustic versions. They already have 5 albums to their credit, the last one 'The Barrel House Tapes' being released in 2019. With this live 'Sailors of the Sky', they revisit for nearly 2 hours, compositions of the English in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere with for example the river title 'Empire of the Clouds' which is divided into several parts. In the vast majority, the tribute exercise is often associated with trying to reproduce the original group, but in this case, and this is the great strength of this formation, they completely transform the compositions of 'Iron Maiden' by bringing their personal touch by remarkable rearrangements which gives a whole new light of the originals. In short, beyond the fans of 'Iron Maiden', some of whom may not join, the various productions of 'Maiden United' go beyond a simple cover group and 'Sailors of the Sky' is intended for a large audience who love warm and quiet atmospheres much closer to progressive rock of the 70s/80s than to the energy of metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Frank Beck (Vocal), Daan Janzing (Guitar), Joey Bruers (Bass), Polle van Genechten (Piano), Huub van Loon (Hammond), Dirk Bruinenberg (Drums) + Guest : Ezster Anna Baumann (Choirs)

Artist : Brave New Worlds

Album : Net of Illusions

Release Date : 30-05-2021

Added : 28-08-2021

I discovered the Italians of 'Brave New Worlds' with the release of their second album 'Net of Illusions' in May 2021, 'Brave New Worlds' being the first released in 2020 and it tooks me a few months to digest this exceptional work which, by borrowing from the great rock formations progressive from the 70s with for example 'Pink-Floyd', 'Tangerine Dreams', 'Emerson Lake & Palmer' or 'Genesis' but also to more recent ones like for example 'Leprous' or 'Pain of Salvation', makes of this album a patchwork of all these artists and embark us on a creative and imaginative sound journey that necessarily requires lingering there for a long time to draw all the richness. With a name of group like that, the Italians refer to the dystopian anticipation novel of the same name by Aldous Huxley 'released in 1931 and which at the time was presented as science fiction but which is increasingly becoming our daily reality. In 'Net of Illussions', the theme addresses the possible futures of humanity with references from different science fiction authors ('Philip K. Dick', 'William Gibson', 'Roger Silverberg', 'Roger Zelazny'...) and writings from historian 'Yuval Noah Harari'.

First, these are 15 compositions for nearly two hours of music that are offered to us and doing title by title would require too long a chronicle. It is for this reason that I will focus this one on the strong points which marked me during my multiple listening. First of all, each track is a discovery of a sound universe that merges different styles and atmospheres and, especially in the first part of the album, we have the impression of being always on the razor's edge with this feeling of very loud and continual cry of call for help that we find for example in 'The Wall' (listen to 'Neuromancer' to convince yourself of this with the use for example of reverberation in singing), a feeling that from time to time is dissipates to release all the accumulated tension : the first two tracks, in the form of a mold with two envelopes, are the typical example with striking vocal parts giving off an extraordinary force. In opposition to these strong moments, the second part of the album is much more atmospheric with more peaceful and soaring compositions like 'Net of Being' or 'Dstry Ur Wrk' or the magnificent 'Butterfly Effect'. Then, the musical diversity highlighting contemporary disgressions (for example the very beautiful piano interventions of 'Fabio Aramani' including the very beautiful piano prelude 'Obscure Light Prelude') does not take over because the melodic aspect is always present to soften and make more accessible the whole, 'Darkest Lights' being a first example with these different twists which alternate harmonious sung parts with other more sought-after parts which bring a real originality. Finally, the Italians, in addition to classic progressive rock instruments such as keyboards and guitar (beautiful solos punctuate the various titles), have surrounded themselves with artists who put all their talent at the service of music and the contribution of wind or strings instruments bring a completely original sound diversity : we can cite the interventions of the strings and the clarinet in 'Illusions Theme I' accompanying the piano and we can also note very beautiful vocal harmonies that dot the album, and which bring an airy and celestial side to the whole as in 'Sea of Endless Worlds' or in 'Across Theme'.

In summary, this second album from the Italians of 'Brave New Worlds' shows all the talent of this formation which offers us an innovative and rich progressive misuc, filled with a remarkable creativity and which, on the flip side, should be intended for an informed progressive rock audience who likes long concept albums that one tame, little by little, over repeated listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Fabio Armani (Piano, Keybords, Ethnic instruments, Drums électronique), Luciano Masala (Guitar), Andrea Fenili (Vocal, Choirs, Guitar) + Guests : Simona Capozucco (Vocal, Choirs), Peter Voronov (Violin, Alto), Manuel Trabucco (Clarinette, Saxophone), Massimiliano Gentilini (Bass), Lenina Crowne (Bass), John (le Sauvage) (Drums, Percussions), Simone Ceracchi (Bass), Alberto Gatti (Guitar)

Artist : Blackberry Smoke

Album : You Hear Georgia

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 26-06-2021

After 'Find a Light' in 2018 and the magnificent live 'Homecoming : Live in Atlanta' released in 2020, the Americans of 'Blackberry Smoke' are releasing a new album 'You Hear Georgia'. Casually, this latest baby is the seventh of the group which celebrates its 20 years old in 2021 and they continue with their leader 'Charlie Starr' to perpetuate the musical culture of Georgia, melting pot of Blues music, with an immediately recognizable sound that smells of southern rock. And when I will have told you that the recording and the mixing of the album were realised in ten days, the atmospheres released close to the live make it a must of authenticity with, icing on the cake, a studio recording sound. Melodies then parade that run through your head all day long, whether with the energetic 'Live It Down', 'All Rise Again' in which 'Warren Haynes' was invited or even 'All Over The Road' but also in atmospheres closer to a more peaceful blues / rock with 'You Hear Georgia' whose lyrics and music so transpire this musical culture of 'Blackberry Smoke' or the lighter 'Hey Delilah' or 'Ain't the Same' and his slide guitar which makes you think of 'Eagles' or the heaviest 'Morningside' or even the magnificent' Old Scarecrow 'whose melody is grafted directly into the head, without forgetting the more subdued atmospheres with the beautiful ballads' Lonesome for a livin '' with the participation of 'Jamey Johnson' who spins the creeps or the stripped 'Old Enough To Know' bringing us back to the great tradition of American song.

In summary, this new album of 'Blackberry Smoke' takes us on a trip to the country that saw the birth of the blues and offers us direct but so effective compositions which are a good breath of fresh air in these troubled times and which should bring together a large audience because Americans have this gift to put between our ears music that has become almost universal over time...

Line Up / Musicians

Charlie Starr (Vocal, Guitar), Richard Turner (Bass, Vocal), Brit Turner (Drums), Paul Jackson (Guitar, Vocal), Brandon Still (Keybords) + Guests : Jamey Johnson (Vocal), Warren Haynes (Vocal), Black Bettys (Choirs)

Artist : Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen

Album : Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 04-07-2021

'Esa Holopainen' is the guitarist of the dark metal band 'Amorphis' who have just released a live that I will present to you soon. But this Finnish debut album, even if one title contains it, is far from the growls of 'Amorphis' and takes us on for 9 compositions in a format not exceeding 4 minutes between pop and rock with many guest singers among whom we find names known as 'Anneke van Giersbergen', 'Björn Strid' ('Soilwork', 'The Night Flight Orchestra') or even the singer of 'Leprous', 'Einar Solberg'.

The instrumental 'Silver Lake' opens the album with an acoustic in which Esa's guitar takes us on a relaxing journey with a slight crescendo that sees the electric instruments point the tip of their noses one after the others, then, 'Sentiment' continues in a melancholy atmosphere with the singer's captivating interpretation of 'Kakatonia', 'Jonas Renkse'. With 'Storm' (see video above) the tone hardens slightly with a melodic and catchy composition in typical sounds of Nordic folk music which is performed by 'Håkan Hemlin' who is singer of the Sudanese Folk group 'Nordman', then, 'Ray of Light' (see video here), with characteristic participation 'Einar Solberg' offers us a pop atmosphere reminiscent of the 80s and some titles of 'Bronski Beat' with 'Jimmy Somerville'. Change of scenery with 'Alkusointu' which is darker, and which highlights the serious narration of 'Vesa-Matti Loiri' with instrumental interventions quite close to the music of westerns of 'Enio Morricone', then, 'Esa Holopainen' reserved to his friend and partner in 'Amorphis', 'Tomi Joutsen', the composition 'In Her Solitude' which is closest to their group. The epic and melodic side comes out with 'Promising Sun', more moderate, in which 'Björn Strid' uses his clear voice as he does brilliantly with 'The Night Flight Orchestra' and 'Anneke van Giersbergen' comes to charm us with a 'Fading Moon' whose vocal arrangements are remarkable and which is well in the style of the Dutchwoman with a heady melody and folkloric resonances, the album ending with the semi-acoustic 'Apprentice' with again the sweet voice of 'Jonas Renkse' which makes it a gripping new singing reminiscent of the beginning of the opus.

In summary, the Finnish 'Esa Holopainen', thanks to guests who each bring their own personality, releases a very varied album that mixes different styles and atmospheres alternating poetry, melancholy and catchy melodies, the whole being very accessible, which destines 'Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen' to a large audience who navigate between pop and melodic rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Esa Holopainen (Guitar) + Guests : Anneke van Giersbergen (Vocal), Björn ‘speed’ Strid (Vocal), Einar Solberg (Vocal), Håkan Hemlin (Vocal), Jonas Renkse (Vocal), Tomi Joutsen (Vocal), Vesa-matti Loiri (Vocal)

Artist : Sylvan

Album : One to Zero

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 28-06-2021

After 'Home' released 6 years ago, 'Sylvan' fans were impatiently awaiting this new baby from the Germans and it's done with 'One to Zero' in the form of a concept album that deals with artificial intelligence under a little particular angle because they imagine an autobiography of this last seen from its own perspective and which, as you can imagine, does not necessarily end in the advantage of humans. Mixed by the two members of 'RPWL' 'Yogi Lang' and 'Karl Wallner', who participate as musicians and who are, let us remember, also the producers of 'Sylvan' with their label 'Gentle Art Of Music', we are in 65 minutes of calm and restful progressive in which it is good to get lost in the different nooks and crannies of the compositions rather long because of the 10 tracks, 8 exceed 5 minutes with a long final development.

'Bit by Bit' opens the album in this atmosphere well known of the Germans with a quiet and endearing mid-tempo in an imaginative progressive and we of course find similarities with 'RPWL', then, 'Encoded at Heart 'takes us in a first ballad with a vocal performance by 'Marco Glühmann' still moving with these variations in the treble and the short' Start Your Life ', which follows, is much more direct in a catchy pop register. With the delicious 'Unleashed Power' which plods slowly, the first piano/voice part is beautiful, then the entry of the electric instruments in an atmospheric atmosphere continues to gently rock us until the last piano notes. 'Trust in Yourself' continues in the style of the previous title but brings magnificent alternations of intensity with first of all incisive guitar riffs well placed, then a magnificent 'Floydien' solo alternating with much calmer parts highlighting before the piano and the violin. An astonishing 'On My Odyssey' follows, more complex in construction but just as endearing, which brings together different rhythms with first a slow tempo with melancholic strings, then an unbridled section takes over for the first sung part arriving at the more marked chorus, the second part offering us a section with the violin close to 'Kansas', then the slow tempo returns to continue and end with a completely addictive melody. We continue our wonderful journey with the long development 'Part of Me' which is a new ballad in which we completely surrender to the sweet voice of 'Marco Glühmann' with a contrasting and intense section in the central part and with a moving final solo of guitar, then, 'Worlds Apart', more compact, brings a more disturbing climate, the Humans starting to realize that artificial intelligence does not bring only good things. The electronic sounds accompany a much more powerful 'Go Viral' contrasting with the previous slow tempos and which offers in the middle of the title a remarkable instrumental part by putting forward a masterful keyboard solo. We come to the end of our journey with the longest track of the album, 'Not a Goodbye', in which, all the hopes that Man founded in artificial intelligence were ultimately "only artificial" (in the not essential sense) and musically, we find all the ingredients of 'Sylvan' with this progressive filled with emotion and warmth, sublimated by a singer who very often gives us goosebumps.

In summary, 'Sylvan' offers us a new album of great quality which should, beyond their fan base, touch any amateur of progressive because, with each release of a new studio recording, we are always seduced by these delicate and moving atmospheres that the Germans know so well how to transmit to their public...

Line Up / Musicians

Marco Glühmann (Vocal), Volker Söhl (Keybords), Sebastian Harnack (Bass), Matthias Harder (Drums), Johnny Beck (Guitar) + Guests : Kalle Wallner (Guitar), Yogi Lang (Keybords), Katja Flintsch (Violin, Alto), Bine Heller (Choirs)

Artist : Karmamoi

Album : Room 101

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 30-06-2021

After discovering the Italians with their fourth album 'Silence Between Sounds' , I passed next to the magnificent 'The Day Is Gone' in 2018 (for those who are like me, I advise you to immerse yourself in it) and I make up for it with the no less magnificent 'Room 101', released at the end of May 2021, which is inspired by the novel by 'George Orwell', 1984, published in 1948 and which has become a literary reference at this time (would the health crisis have highlighted what Orwell had written more than 70 years ago now?) and this reference to Room 101 is linked to the psychological torture inflicted on people to transform them into calibrated and docile beings. As much to tell you right away, 'Room 101' will undoubtedly be one of my albums which will be in the top 3 of the progressive rock albums of 2021, because this opus is of an extraordinary density and richness and contains everything what I'm looking for in this style with long developments containing multiple drawers in which it is good to lose yourself and go to the rhythm of the music with, ice on the cake, completely sublime vocal arrangements.

On the menu, 7 tracks for 70 minutes of listening and the album begins with 'Memory Holes' which shows at the outset an imaginative progressive with 'Sara Rinaldi' who is still in the game for this album and who we charm on this disturbing melody dotted with sound effects and electronic sounds with in the background, in opposition to the clear atmosphere, a slight flute accompaniment of 'Steve Unruh' ('The Samurai Of Prog', 'UPF') , then, after a remarkable final rise in power which ends abruptly, 'Drop By Drop' takes over with a ballad which begins calmly and which gradually gains momentum to alternate with quieter sections and which, after a moving stripped down part in the middle of the title, has a magnificent second part which gradually gains strength with vocal arrangements in the beautiful finale, which for me makes it one of the highlights of the album. 'Dark City' which follows, is a slow atmospheric procession which begins very calmly and which, at the end of 2.30, introduces an unbridled rhythmic section contrasting remarkably with the calm atmosphere, then, the finale picks up again with, first, saturated guitar riffs, then, with the short intervention to the vocals of 'Sara Rinaldi' (which would have deserved from my point of view a longer conclusion). With 'Zealous Man', we hold the longest composition which continues in this captivating atmospheric atmosphere, alternating tensions and relaxations throughout the title with yet another magnificent vocal performance by 'Sara Rinaldi' who remarkably adapts her singing according to the 'intensity of the moment and which moves us at every moment and we can also highlight the magnificent central guitar solo of 'Alex Massari' and a masterful finale. Follows 'Newspeak' which is undoubtedly the most cinematographic composition and which reminds me for my part of the musical atmospheres of 'Eric Serra' from 'Le grand bleu' which would have been mixed with the keyboard tones of the album 'Whish You Were Here' from the' Floyds'. The eponymous title of the album is very representative of the atmosphere of room 101 with this feeling of fear and anguish with vocals filled with reverberation which brings us once again to the atmosphere of the 'Floyds', this time with 'The Wall' and we are right in a imaginative progressive with a long instrumental part in the second part completely addictive. It is with 'The New World' which borders on 10 minutes that the album ends with a last completely memorable melody and which once again plunges us into a progressive taking us on a beautiful trip in which we let ourselves go to the multiple changes of rhythm and which sums up this magnificent opus, the instrumental and vocal parts alternating different intensities and holding the listener in suspense from start to finish.

In summary, no need to draw you a picture, this last opus of the Italians of 'Karmamoi' is certainly one of the most captivating albums of their discography and for my part comes directly to my ideal progressive collection and, I do not No doubt, also that of many amateurs and many amateurs of dense, imaginative progressive rock and conveying all kinds of emotions...

Line Up / Musicians

Daniele Giovannoni (Keybords, Drums, Choirs), Alex Massari (Guitar), Alessandro Cefalì (Bass) + Guests : Sara Rinaldi (Vocal), Valerio Sgargi (Vocal, Choirs), Adam Holzman (Piano, Moog), Steve Unruh (Violin, Flute), Emilio Merone (Piano, Keybords), Francesca Zanetta (Solina)

Artist : The Vicious Head Society

Album : Extinction Level Event

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 02-07-2021

After the very good 'Abject Tomorrow'< / a> that I had reviewed after its release in 2017, Irishman 'Graham Keane' continues his progressive adventure with the release of a new album with new singers 'Nathan Maxx' for clear vocals and 'Andy Ennis' for growls, 'Nahuel Ramos' replacing 'Derek Sherinian' on keyboards and the rhythm section remaining unchanged with 'Klemen Markelj' on drums and 'Pat Byrne' on bass. At the moment, we are spoiled in progressive rock/metal releases because afterwards, the Australians of a href='' target='_blank'>'Acolyte' and the two albums of 'Sylvan' et de 'Karmamoi', it's now an impressive new concept album that' Nathan Maxx 'offers us, I quote him : "Extinction Level Event is an album on the end of the world. It's a concept that has been explored in various other forms of media, but on this album, I wanted to explore personal stories of how people might react knowing their demise is imminent."

And it is with the eponymous track album, entirely instrumental, album that we begin our journey with 10 dense minutes that mix atmospheric rock with muscular riffs of progressive metal and in which there is really no downtime, the whole forming a wonderful introduction to the album, then, 'Solipsism' adds the vocals of 'Nathan Maxx' alternating with the growls of 'Andy Ennis' which, although this is something I don't usually appreciate not, go very well because they are well placed in the more muscular parts adding even more contrasts with the quieter sections. We find these ruptures of rhythm and intensity in 'The Signal' (see video here), more unbridled but whose melodic lines of the chorus are immediately encrusted in the head, then, the long new development with the remarkable 'Judgment' which is a must of metal progressive, making us go through all kinds of sensations, alternating oriental and western sounds and which captivates from start to finish thanks to a beautiful diversity of the deployed atmospheres. The suite offers us 'Throes of Despair' with its heady melody and with a marked rhythm on which Graham's guitar works wonders and which has very beautiful male choirs, then 'Yp138' takes over with a new instrumental mixing metal and rock, the first part being filled with a good dose of energy and which brings in the second part a relaxation in the form of a very beautiful passage 'Floydien' and 'On a Silver Thread' (see video below) continues in this imaginative progressive metal with magnificent vocal and instrumental arrangements on a melody which quickly becomes addictive. With 'Absolution', the rhythm is more calm and we still find beautiful variations of intensity throughout the title which is built around a heady melodic theme that recurs several times and the album ends with the remarkable 'Hymn of Creation 'filled with emotion and summarizes all the facets of this album which can take us from a light orchestral passage to ferocious growls, all this being magnified by the talent of melodist of 'Graham Keane'.

In summary, 'Graham Keane', influenced by different musical styles merged together for the best, releases an album of extraordinary density and richness which will undoubtedly mark the year 2021 in progressive but, which, reverse of the medal, asks to linger to appreciate it at its fair value and to draw all the substantive marrow which will undoubtedly limit it to an informed public loving to discover little by little a concept album...

Line Up / Musicians

Graham Keane (Guitar, Bass, Keybords) + Guests : Andy Ennis (Growls), Nathan Maxx (Vocal), Klemen Markelj (Drums), Pat Byrne (Bass), Nahuel Ramos (Keybords), Matheus Manente (Bass), Shelley Weiss (Violin)

Artist : Proud

Album : Second Act

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 09-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

It is well known, it is in the old pots that one makes the best soups (french proverb) and this is the case of the Swedish formation 'Proud' which was founded at the beginning of the Eighties and which had released an album. at the time 'Fire Breaks The Dawn'. 2019 saw the reformation of the group with the key to this new album, aptly named, 'Second Act' which offers us 10 compositions in an AOR straight from the 80s and it starts strong with a catchy 'Sail Away' (see the video here) that we listen with that nostalgic little smile of memories from another era, then, 'Broken Dreams' drives the point home with a melody that gives the impression of already heard, followed by 'Magic', which is aptly named and which prolongs this very pleasant listening moment. What follows continues in this addictive atmosphere and each track brings its share of listening pleasure until the final track 'Fly Like an Eagle' which offers us a last heady chorus. In short, this 'Second Act' which saw the revival of the Swedes of 'Proud' is added to the already long list of melodic rock albums in 2021 and shows this need, after a period of health crisis in which the humans have lost all their good meaning, to return to simple things like this music from the 80s which was a source of pleasure and carefree...

Line Up / Musicians

Anders Magnell (Vocal, Guitar, Choirs), Roberth Horvath (Bass, Choirs), Mats Christiansson (Drums, Choirs) + Guest : Richard Larsson (Keybords)

Artist : Wardrum

Album : Mavericks

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 10-07-2021

Decidedly, the Greek power metal is doing well now because it is only a week after the new studio recording of 'Illusory' that the Greeks from 'Wardrum' release their fifth studio album after 'Awakening' in 2016. This fifth opus marks the tenth anniversary of the group, and the lineup is now evolving since it is 'George Margaritopoulos' who officiates as singer replacing 'Yannis Papadopoulos'. For the first time in their history, they take us on a concept album inspired by the short story of 'Mavericks - The Story Of The Messenger', written by their drummer 'Stergios Kourou' and which combines, normal when you're Greek, mythology, fantasy and contemporary perspectives on the ancient world, telling the story of the faceless winged messenger appearing on all of the band's album covers.

Musically, we are immersed in epic power metal with many progressive components highlighting electric guitars and a muscular rhythm section with use of the double pedal and this from the first two tracks 'Hunt for Survival' and 'Best of Times' which start the opus at full speed, and which deploy melodies that we immediately appropriate. With the eponymous title of the album, the tempo is intended to be more measured and the marked deployed rhythmic immediately sets the foot tapping machine in motion, the variations in intensity within the title itself bringing a welcome progressive side and the guitar solo is remarkable but would have deserved a real end instead of a bland in. Follows 'Sands of Time' which offers us an exotic atmosphere supported by an addictive mid-tempo conducive to headbanging, then, 'Rise' (see video here), with these oriental influences, is typical of a melodic and catchy power metal that should fill an entire concert audience and, 'Broken Pieces' alternates progressive sections and a chorus with a completely addicting new melody. The album continues this pattern and parade powerful compositions all as melodic as each other with the short ballad break 'No One Believes' until the final title 'Sliver of Eternity' offering us last melodic lines that s 'encrusted directly into the head.

In summary, this latest album from the Greeks of 'Wardrum' shows the good health of Greek power metal and should appeal to a public adept of epic power metal with simple but ultra-effective melodies that can be tamed from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

George Margaritopoulos (Vocal), Kosta Vreto (Guitar), J. Demian (Guitar), Strutter (Bass), Stergios Kourou (Drums)

Artist : Tuple

Album : Welcome to Hell

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 13-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Tuple' is a new project initiated by Finnish singer 'Tommi "Tuple" Salmela' well known in the metal world (among others 'Tarot' and 'Lazy Bonez') and, just a year after his first studio recording 'Wooden Box', he releases his second album 'Welcome to Hell'. Quite far from the style of the groups mentioned above, his solo career is influenced by the AOR of the 80s/90s and with the eponymous title which begins the album, we have a good example of what you can listen to on this opus with a catchy rhythm and accessible melodic lines. We can also cite in the same style compositions like '1-2-3-4 Go!', 'Pride', 'Stay' or even 'Hiding in Pain' with rhythms that give pins and needles in your legs and with memorable choruses. In more relaxed atmospheres, the mid-tempos 'Hold on to Me', 'So Damn Cruel' or even 'Survive' in which the singer of 'Sonata Arctica', 'Noora Louhimo' adapts perfectly her voice to this AOR atmosphere, have nothing to envied the rest and we can also note the participation in luxury choirs of the singer of 'Sonata Arctica', 'Tony Kakko'. And to finish the album, 'Tuple' offers us a magnificent ballad that I directly added to my spotify playlist of 'rock/hard-rock/metal ballads'. In short, the metal singer 'Tommi' Tuple 'Salmela' shows another face with this new melodic rock-oriented album which offers compositions to be consumed without moderation and which should undoubtedly appeal to an audience loving an AOR influenced by major formations of the 80s/90s in this style of music...

Line Up / Musicians

Tommi 'Tuple' Salmela (Vocal, Chœurs), Riitis (Guitar, Keybords, Chœurs), Jykä Sirainen (Bass), Tom Rask (Drums) + Guests : Noora Louhimo (Vocal), Erkka Korhonen (Guitar), Janne Tolsa (Keybords), Tony Kakko (Chœurs)

Artist : Fernando Perdomo

Album : RAM ON – The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul and Linda McCartney’s Ram

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 24-07-2021

The two Americans 'Fernando Perdomo' and 'Denny Seiwell' have decided to cover the legendary album 'RAM' by 'Paul McCartney' and her companion 'Linda McCartney' released in 1971 with a host of guest artists more or less known to the general public and, for once, I have not detailed the list of artists participating in this opus but the video above lists them with extracts from each title. We are therefore plunged back into the period of the end of the 60s with this recording which shows the diversity of the compositions of the couple 'MacCartney' who after the 'Beatles' period provided a summary of these 10 years of busy career with the 'Too Many People' and its memorable melody, '3 Legs' and its rockabilly influences, 'Ram On' and its originality with the use of the Ukulele, the 'Beatlesian' 'Dear Boy' or even the more muscular 'Smile Away' reminiscent of the 'Beach Boys'. Also note the two covers 'Another Day' and 'Oh Woman Oh Why' which had never appeared in albums, the first being released as a single and the second being the B-side (that is how we called at the time the other side of the 45rpm of a single) from 'Another Day'. In short, for all the amateurs of this period, 'Fernando Perdomo' and 'Denny Seiwell' offer us a beautiful gift with these covers enriched with a modern sound, allowing to rediscover his treasures which had somewhat disappeared from the radar radios (and that's a shame) and which are now part of this legacy left to us by all the great pop/rock artists of the 60s/70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Fernando Perdomo (Guitar, Ukulele), Denny Seiwell (Drums)

Artist : Kansas

Album : Point Of Know Return Live & Beyond

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 05-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

After their sumptuous album 'The Absence Of Presence' which took me back to the days of 'Point Of Know Return', it is precisely this album released in 1977 that is in the spotlight in this live 'Point Of Know Return Live & Beyond' which was recorded during their tour of 2019 and early 2020 stopped by the Covid 19 crisis. Indeed, the set of the mythical album of 'Kansas' in which their flagship title 'Dust In The Wind' appeared is played in its entirety and I found myself plunged back a few decades with listening to the vinyl (33 rpm for the older ones) which turned many times on the family turntable until I heard more crackles of scratches from the record than the music itself. It is therefore with shivers of happiness that parade the magnificent 'Point Of Know Return', 'Portrait', 'Dust in the Wind', 'Nobody's Home' or even 'Carry On Wayward Son' with an interpretation very faithful to the original and flawless production. The other compositions played are taken from the rest of the 'Kansas' discography and we find some must-see tracks like' Cold Gray Morning 'by 'Freaks of Nature' from 1995, the beautiful 'The Wall' from the album 'Leftoverture' from 1976, or the famous 'Song of America' from the same album but also lesser known tracks like 'Two Cents Worth' from the album 'Masque' from 1975, 'Summer' from their penultimate album 'The Prelude Implicit' from 2016 or 'Musicatto' and 'Taking In The View' from 'Power' from 1986, the concert ending in style with 3 other compositions 'People of the South Wind' from 1979, 'Refugee' from 2016 filled with a palpable emotion and finally a 'Lonely Wind' which brings us back to the very beginning of the group with a beautiful tribute to 'Steve Walsh'. In short, this concert by the Americans from 'Kansas' is still a great gift for all the historical fans of the group but is also an album that should reach a large audience because it highlights this legendary group whose albums still serve as a reference for many artists and who have all become essential works of progressive rock of the 70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Ronnie Platt (Vocal, Keybords), David Ragsdale (Guitar, Violin), Billy Greer (Bass), Rich Williams (Guitar), Tom Brislin (Keybords), Zak Rizvi (Guitar), Phil Ehart (Drums)

Artist : Therion

Album : Live in Atlanta 2011

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 07-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

This third live is dedicated to 'Therion', a formation led for more than thirty years by 'Christofer Johnsson' and of which I have already reviewed the last two albums on myprogmusic (the enormous 'Beloved Antichrist' from 2018 and 'Leviathan' from 2021). And it is not one but two live that 'Christofer Johnsson' offers us with first of all 'Live in Atlanta 2011' which takes us back ten years after the release of 'Sitra Ahra' and which is none other than the digital version of the second DVD of 'Adulruna Rediviva And Beyond' released in 2014. At that time the line-up was composed to the vocals of 'Lori Lewis' who just joined the band officially, 'Thomas Vikström' and his daughter 'Linnéa Vikström', also new concert recruit, and 'Snowy Shaw', the rest of the group consisting of 'Christofer Johnsson' and 'Christian Vidal' on guitar, 'Nalle Påhlsson' on bass and 'Johan Koleberg' on drums. We therefore find the essentials of 'Therion' in 2 hours of concert which alternates muscular compositions like 'Typhon', 'The Blood of Kingu' or even their hymn, 'To Mega Therion', but also the quieter atmospheres with the beautiful melodies of 'Christofer Johnsson' like 'Clavicula Nox', 'The Siren of the Woods' or the magnificent 'Lemuria' sublimated by a 'Lori Lewis' in great shape. In short, even if the fans already knew this concert, this 'Live in Atlanta 2011' allows us to dive back into the discography of 'Therion' which is a formation made for the stage with exceptional singers who give an impressive energy to each concert...

Line Up / Musicians

Christofer Johnsson (Guitar), Lori Lewis (Vocal), Linnéa Vikström (Vocal), Thomas Vikström (Vocal, Flute), Snowy Shaw (Vocal), Nalle Påhlsson (Bass), Johan Koleberg (Drums)

Artist : Alestorm

Album : Live in Tilburg

Release Date : 28-05-2021

Added : 11-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

Need a little pick-me-up in this period that has deprived us of concerts for too long ? Look no further, I have what you need with the last live of the Scots from 'Alestorm' because if you are a fan of completely crazy folk metal with anthems to blackmail an entire stadium, you are in the right place. And let's go for an hour and a quarter of unstoppable melodies repeated in chorus by all the public (magnificent capture of the concert atmosphere) and interpreted by our buccaneers with the pretty duckling in a masterly way. And if you are not yet convinced by this group of merry fellows, we can salute the beautiful gesture of the Scots to make the entire concert available on YouTube ici, to share for the greatest number all this communicative energy. In short, this live of 'Alestorm' is a great gift for all fans of the Scots and for those who do not yet know this original formation and who like good-natured folk metal, you should have a great time listening to this 'Live in Tilburg'...

Line Up / Musicians

Christopher Bowes (Vocal, Keytar), Mate Bodor (Guitar), Gareth Murdock (Bass), Elliot Vernon (Keybords), Peter Alcorn (Drums)

Artist : Phil Vincent

Album : Stigmata

Release Date : 26-05-2021

Added : 07-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Phil Vincent' continues to give us albums regularly and, after 'Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday' in 2020, it is the turn of 'Stigmata' to see the light of day, which now brings its discography to 23 studio recordings. We therefore find this style of melodic rock influenced by the 70s and this new opus makes us travel between the pop of the 'Beatles' or the melodic rock of 'Boston' or 'Foreigner' or the hard-rock of a 'Cheap-Trick' with some stronger guitar riffs. The range is therefore wide and, from the start, with 'No End In Sight', we are embarked on an energetic and catchy track which sets the tone of the album, this more muscular side being found in 'My Life' (taken from his album 'Tragic' released just 20 years ago years) or in 'Hideway' or even in 'Don't Turn You Back'. In a lighter atmosphere, melodic hits parade with 'Time' which has an addictive chorus that the 'Beatles' would not have denied or 'Reason to Believe' which closes the album beautifully, and we can also quote 'My Darkness' with alternations of intensity and tempo bringing a bit of progressive or this beautiful cover of 'Eleanor Rigby' intensified by saturated guitar riffs or even 'It Don't Matter Anymore' with a chorus that never leaves you more, without forgetting the beautiful ballad 'So Tired'. Also note that in parallel with this new solo album, 'Phil Vincent' released with 'D'Ercole' at the beginning of the year a new studio recording, 'Hardcore'.

In summary, 'Phil Vincent' continues on his way by offering us, year after year, quality albums and this latest baby is yet another great proof of the talent of this artist who does not make the buzz on the internet (and that's a shame). If you do not know him yet and you are a fan of varied melodic rock, I strongly advise you to go and have a "listen" to 'Stigamata', you will certainly be won over by these very endearing compositions...

Line Up / Musicians

Phil Vincent (Vocal, Tous les instruments), Max Piccolo (Drums), Vince O'Regan (Guitar), Janne Stark (Guitar)

Artist : John Mellencamp

Album : Lonely Street (Live 1984) – Unplugged (Live 1992) – Big Red Apple (Live 1980)

Release Date : 24-05-2021

Added : 23-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

After 'Other People's Stuff', 'John Mellencamp' shared on streaming platforms 3 live from the 80s and 90s, first 'Lonely Street (Live 1984)', then the acoustic concert 'Unplugged (1992)' and, finally, 'Big Red Apple (Live 1980)' which you can find in the above playlist on spotify. It is therefore more than 4 hours of concerts that are offered to us, and we return to the discography of the first albums of the American who began his career in the mid-1970s under the name 'John Cougar Mellencamp' but also covers of compositions from the time of different artists. These 3 lives are therefore a great gift for all fans of the American and a good way for others to discover this artist whose last studio recording 'Sad Clowns & Hillbillies' date of 2017 and which accounts for a good twenty studio recordings...

Line Up / Musicians

John Mellencamp (Vocal, Choirs, Guitar)

Artist : Trick Or Treat

Album : The Unlocked Songs

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 08-06-2021

After the story of rabbits in search of a new world, the second part of which I did a review 'Rabbit's Hill Pt. 2' and while waiting for the release of their next album, the Italians of 'Trick Or Treat' are releasing an album presented as a compilation, 'The Unlocked Songs', but containing new compositions in the first part of the opus and in the second part of the covers, bonus tracks, acoustic versions and demos. We therefore find these simple but effective melodies in light and playful atmospheres, but the chosen titles for this opus are quite varied and mix energetic moments and others calmer.

In the part of the unreleased tracks, everything begins with a lively 'Hungarian Hangover' with a fast rhythm which puts us in shape at the start by telling us with humor the after concerts and which in the second part makes a little wink look at the Hungarian dance N°5 of 'Johannes Brahms', then, 'Almost Gone' considerably softens the tempo for a melancholy ballad which speaks about this period we live and which deprives us of concert. Follows, the playful 'I Cavalieri Dello Zodiaco' who had no place in their album 'Re-Animated' composed only of cartoon credits that rocked the childhood of Italians and which is the soundtrack of a famous Italian cartoon, then, 'Dragonborn-Skyrim' is a reinterpretation of the soundtrack of the action role-playing video game 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' with remarkable vocal arrangements. 'Heavy Metal Bunga Bunga', which follows, is already known to fans of the band because it is a single released in 2011 and which is a review of the Italian politician 'Silvio Berlusconi', then, 'Scream' is the cover of the 'Misfits' band. The sequel concerns old compositions with the cover of 'Human Drama (Down Into Pain)' which was the bonus track of the Japanese edition of 'Tin Soldiers' from 2009 and, as for 'Hampshire Landscapes', it is an epic instrumental that highlights the talent of the instrumentalists of 'Trick Or Treat' and which appeared as a bonus in the Japanese edition of 'Rabbit's Hill Pt. 1'. Little ballad break with the cover in orchestral version of 'Sagittarius - Golden Arrow' from the album 'The Legand of the XII Saints', then, we find the crazy side of the Italians with this particular Christmas tale 'Evil Needs Christmas Too' taken up in much quieter from the album 'Evil Needs Candy Too' and 'Arles Hall' returns with a powerful instrumental which corresponds more to what we have to used to hear among Italians. The anecdotal demo of 2004 'I Like Donald Duck' highlights this quirky and good-natured side with heady cartoon melodies that have also given the name to the group ('Trick Or Treat'' from 'Walt Disney') and the album ends with the muscular 'I'm Alive' which is a cover of Halloween' quite close to the original.

In summary, this patchwork of compositions is a good mix between powerful and energetic tracks of a good-natured heavy metal, and more calm atmospheres which well represents the trademark of the Italians of 'Trick Or Treat' and 'The Unlocked Songs' is an album intended primarily for fans of the group but can be also a good way for others who do not know them to discover these rather atypical Italians in the metal landscape...

Line Up / Musicians

Alessandro Conti (Vocal), Guido Benedetti (Guitar), Leone Villani Conti (Bass), Luca Venturelli (Guitar), Luca Setti (Drums)

Artist : Evership

Album : The Uncrowned King : Act 1

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 12-06-2021

I had already liked the first two albums of the Americans of 'Evership', 'Evership' in 2016 and 'Evership II' in 2018, and their third album was released in May 2021. Still led by their leader 'Shane Atkinson', they have concocted this time a concept album worthy of the biggest names in progressive rock of the 70s which is inspired by the book of ' Harold Bell Wright 'from 1910 and which tells the story of a pilgrim who sets out in search of the truth and which is an allegory on life, religion and on how we perceive all these matters. We therefore find long developments that make us think of well-known names and it is the 'Kansas', 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', 'Yes' or even 'Styx' (and so on) that come to spirit, all this with modern arrangements that give even more scope to these epic compositions.

This materializes from the first title 'The Pilgrimage', over 10 minutes long which has three parts and takes us on a progressive saga in which we advance with happiness and which, after a long remarkable instrumental part, offers us a beautifully sung part with a melody which remains engraved in your head and which reminds me of the atmospheres of 'Mystery'. Follows the short 'The Voice of the Waves' with a restful atmospheric side, then, 'Crownshine / Allthetime', with its introduction close to 'Kansas' is also an admirable patchwork of a rich and refined progressive with the use of an alternation between calm parts on the piano and others more energetic with the electric instruments, the keyboards being preponderant and bringing the binder to the whole, the melodic lines of the sung parts being just as addictive as those of the first composition and the sounds reminding me of 'Uriah Heep' in some places. With 'The Tower', it is still a long development with more of sung parts that shows all the vocal talent of 'Beau West' in a new melody that brings us back again to the sounds of the 70s, then, 'The Voice of the Evening Wind' continues in an atmospheric atmosphere close to 'Vangelis', the vaporous singing being quite in the same register as that of the Greek. It is with 'Yettocome / Itmightbe' that we hold the longest track which borders on 17 minutes and which offers us an epic sequel in which we abandon ourselves completely by letting ourselves be drawn into the different nooks and crannies of this labyrinth always very melodic sounds, and, it is with the beautiful ballad 'Wait' that the 'Beatles' would not have denied that we end this very beautiful album in a light atmosphere.

In summary, This latest studio recording of The Americans of Evership 'is remarkable from start to finish and takes us back decades with modern sound and very beautiful instrumental and vocal arrangements which, without a doubt, should make of 'The Uncrowned King: Act 1' a concept album to add to the ideal collection of any amateur of progressive rock and join the multiple opuses of the big names of this style of the 70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Beau West (Vocal), Shane Atkinson (Keybords, Drums, Vocal, Theremin, Perscussion), James Atkinson (Guitar), John Rose (Guitar), Ben Young (Bass) + Guests : Matt Harrell (Guitar), Poem Atkinson (Voix), Mike Priebe (Chœurs), The Charles Heimermann (Chœurs), The Adriatic Sea (Organ)

Artist : Nergard

Album : Eternal White

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 24-06-2021

Norwegian singer-songwriter 'Andreas Nergård' returns with a new concept album 'Eternal White' which is the third album under the name 'Nergard', 'A Bit Closer to Heaven' being the last studio recording released in 2015. This latest baby is a melodic metal opera with all the ingredients together for this kind of production but this time limiting the line up to two main singers since they are the Irish 'Stefani Keogh' (who has a youtube page with covers here, and the Norwegian 'Mathias Molund Indergård' (singer of 'Mindtech'), 'Andi Kravljaca' who is also guitarist and keyboardist being adding to the vocal duo. 'Eternal White' is a concept album telling the story of 'The death march of the Caroleans' in 1719 which saw the deaths of 3,000 Swedish and Finnish soldiers during the failed attempt to invade Norway.

'God Forgive My Haunted Mind' starts the album in an epic and symphonic atmosphere that we will find throughout the 10 compositions with an orchestration and vocal arrangements worthy of the best songs from 'Epica' and we let ourselves be embarked very quickly in a heady melody on a very catchy tempo with instrumental parts alternating calm and powerful passages. This beautiful impression is confirmed with 'Pride of the North' with a new melody that we immediately appropriate, the trio of singers bringing additional richness, then, the introduction of 'From the Cradle to the Grave' makes us go back to the beginning of 'Nightwish' with grandiose choirs and, in this title, 'Stefani Keogh' is very close to a lyrical register and forms a very beautiful duet with 'Mathias Molund Indergård' especially as the catchy melody quickly becomes addictive. The first break comes with 'Carry Me' which is a slow mid-tempo with a remarkable guitar solo from 'Andi Kravljaca' (which I would have liked a little longer), then the energetic 'Beneath Northern Skies' demonstrates again, if it was still necessary, the talent of melodist of 'Andreas Nergård' with a new composition which should be all the rage in concert and which is typical of the symphonic metal of the 90s with great reinforcement of orchestral arrangements on the keyboards. With 'Where No One Would Shed a Tear', we start the second part of the album with a faster rhythm, leading the singers to harden their interpretation and which again puts Andi's frenzied guitar solo forward for a short time. 'Kravljaca', then,' Downfall 'continues in an epic and theatrical atmosphere and can make one think of certain atmospheres of 'Kamelot' and 'Now Barely Three' continues in this symphonic ambiance with grandiose choirs closeto 'Nightwish' and the interventions of the growls of 'Tim "Ripper" Owens'. Follows the eponymous mid-tempo of the album which has an addictive new chorus and which is accompanied vocally and instrumentally in a remarkable way by 'Andi Kravljaca', then, the album ends with the longest composition of the album, 'Erasing the Memories' which ends up conquering us entirely and which is a magnificent ballad filled with a palpable emotion. Note that the Spotify version offers the full instrumental of the album which, personally, did not seem essential to me, the vocal arrangements bringing so much more richness and listening pleasure.

In summary, by refocusing on a limited line-up, 'Andreas Nergård' offers us a remarkable symphonic metal opera from the first to the last title and which has nothing to envy to projects of this style, I think especially at 'Avantasia' of 'Tobias Sammet', and it's a safe bet that 'Eternal White' will become an essential album for all lovers of power metal and symphonic metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Andreas Nergård (Drums, Keybords, Programmation), Stefani Keogh (Vocal), Mathias Molund Indergård (Vocal), Andi Kravljaca (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Ørjan Halsan (Guitar) + Guest : Tim "Ripper" Owens (Vocal)

Artist : Illusory

Album : Crimson Wreath

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 08-07-2021

'Illusory' is a Greek group of power metal and which has already released two albums 'The Ivory Tower' in 2013 (it was also the name of the group before this time which has therefore been around thirty years of existence) and 'Polysyllabic' in 2016. 'Crimson Wreath', relased in May 2021, is their last baby and is a concept album on the hard drive of the war and all its negative sides and which contains 14 compositions for nearly 80 minutes of music. Although they are tagged in power metal and that we could compare them to formations like 'Sabaton', this 'Crimson Wreath' is varied and contains in many places alternations between power and calm which brings a good dose of progressive.

It all starts with a 'Besetting Sins' (see video here) involving with a first unifying chorus that we immediately appropriate, then, 'Acedia' is a first Acoustic comma with a melancholy recitative, followed by the eponymous title of the album which begins calmly and which gains momentum after 1.30 mn and which continues to alternate powerful passages and others calmer. 'Immortal No', in a more classic power metal, takes over in a fast tempo with beautiful rhythmic breaks, and if you like long guitar solos, you will certainly be delighted by the one offered to us in the second part of the title. Well-deserved break with the short ballad 'All Shade Fade', before attacking an 'All Blood Red' (see video here) filled with good energy, then, the short 'The Voice Inside Me', a new recited comma serves as an introduction to 'St Forsaken', one of the masterpieces of the album which takes us on for more than 8 minutes in a progressive saga which, after an acoustic introduction, contains three sung sections interspersed with remarkable instrumental parts and whose melodic theme is easily embedded in the head. 'Ashes To Dust' continues in the same melodic style as its predecessor with a nice acoustic break in the second part which recalls the Greek roots of this formation. More classic and more collected, follows 'A Poem I Couldn't Rhyme', which is the melodic hit of the album whose chorus should be taken up by a whole audience in concert then, we attack the suite 'An Opus Of Loss And Sorrow' composed of 3 titles for a duration of 22 minutes which highlights the progressive side of the Greeks with this dense and rich ensemble in which we are carried away and which makes us pass through all kinds of atmospheres, the whole staying us spellbound from the first to the last note. After these three remarkable compositions, it is with a new long development, 'Fortress Of Sadness', that the album ends in style and which is made up of several drawers showing the know-how of the Greeks to offer us a progressive power metal captivating

In summary, the Greeks of Illusory 'are releasing a very dense album that requires lingering over it to extract all the richness, because' Crimson Wreath 'is much more than a simple suite of power metal songs but embeds progressive elements which mean that it will not only be reserved for an audience which like direct and efficient power metal but will undoubtedly make people happy among fans of an easy-to-access progressive metal thanks to melodic lines that the we take ownership immediately...

Line Up / Musicians

Dee Theodorou (Vocal), George Papantonis (Guitar), Greg Bakos (Guitar), Niki Danos (Bass), Makis Vandoros (Keybords), Costas Koulis (Drums)

Artist : VOLA

Album : Witness

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 31-07-2021

In the world of progressive metal, several groups stand out because they have been tagged in this style while incorporating influences from other styles which means that their albums need to linger there to draw all the richness. In this kind of groups, we find the 'Pain Of Salvation' or 'Leprous' or 'Haken' to name only the most famous. We could add to this list the Danes of 'VOLA', who are releasing their third studio recording 'Witness' after 'Applause From A Distant Crowd' in 2018 because this last album, like the previous ones, has everything to make it a reference recording in progressive metal.

'Straight Lines' sets the tone for the album with an energetic atmosphere of imaginative progressive metal with a chorus that comes in opposition to bring a memorable and unifying melody, then, 'Head Mounted Sideways' continues in the same atmosphere, the new refrain offering the same alternation with the whole. With '24 Light-Years', the style is more conciliatory, almost atmospheric while keeping a new remarkable opposition, this time between the rhythm section which brings a real originality in the accompaniment of the melody, then, change of scenery with 'These Black Claws' which is really a real gem of a progressive alternating a phenomenal fiery power with rapped sections and accompanied by some guitar notes and which makes it, for me, the strongest moment of the album. The rest is much more measured with 'Freak', a magnificent break ballad which also shows a much more accessible and calm side of the Danes, then, 'Napalm' returns to a progressive metal combining power and harmonious melodic lines and, as for 'Future Bird', we find this rhythmic section always very imaginative on a heady melody phrase and these oppositions of intensity which are the great strength of these compositions. And the album ends with two more energetic compositions, first, 'Stone Leader Falling Down' with a power of a progressive metal pushed to its climax while keeping an immediate accessibility, then, 'Inside Your Fur', more moderate which sums up this rich and inventive album.

In summary, with this last album, the Danes of 'VOLA' have really found a strong originality which consolidates them in the leading group of the best progressive metal formations which makes 'Witness' a nice surprise for 2021 and an opus to add to the ideal discotheque of any amateur and any lover of an innovative and accessible progressive metal thanks to memorable melodies...

Line Up / Musicians

Asger Mygind (Vocal, Guitar), Martin Werner (Keybords), Nicolai Mogensen (Bass), Adam Janzi (Drums) + Guest : Shahmen (Vocal)

Artist : Pale Mannequin

Album : Colours of Continuity

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 02-08-2021

'Pale Mannequin' is a new Polish formation which was created in 2016 by 'Tomasz Izdebski' and which released their first studio recording, Patterns in Parallel, in 2019 and 'Colors of Continuity' is therefore their second album released in May 2021. After a first listen, we find influences from different formations of progressive rock, and even if the progressive side is not particularly emphasized, they offer us a first varied album which mixes different styles alternating different atmospheres ranging from atmospheric to metal, the whole being divided between accessible titles and others requiring some listening to tame them well.

'The Sleeper' opens the album with a mid-tempo in a style reminding me of certain titles from 'RPWL' deploying a sort of quiet force, then, 'Inkblot' hardens the tone slightly with melodic lines quite close to 'U2' offering a memorable chorus, and, with 'Scattered', the atmosphere is much quieter and the slow tempo accompanied by an acoustic guitar unrolls a melody in slight crescendo. Follows 'Most Favorite Trap' which offers a lively tempo supported by a rhythm guitar with fast back and forth and which has a nice rhythmic break in the last part, then, 'Inertia' is much more progressive, the alternations of power and intensity being more numerous, the rhythm section being clearly more supported in certain places but leaving a good place for other quieter parts (listen to the magnificent final practically a capella) which makes it a less immediate composition but all the more remarkable. More direct, 'Maniac's Mind' is a track built around a fairly repetitive melody, then, the eponymous track of the album deploys its almost 11 minutes in a rather heavy and complex atmospheric atmosphere which offers a crescendo eyeing towards dark metal with growls and which alternates different sections highlighting instrumental solos, the last part in decrescendo being much more classic with a catchy melody supported by voices which gives way to an atmospheric finale. 'In Mono' closes the album beginning with altered sound effects and gives us an instrumental track enriched by spoken passages.

In summary, we knew that Poland was a reservoir of progressive rock groups and 'Pale Mannequin' is added to it, not necessarily in the same style as 'Riverside', 'Millenium' or even 'Loonypark', but by bringing their own personality mixing different influences which makes it an original formation which should appeal to an audience loving a rock alternating accessible titles and others more complex requiring that one linger there, all this being coated by a few pinches of progressive...

Line Up / Musicians

Tomasz Izdebski (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Grzegorz Mazur (Voix, Guitar), Dariusz Goc (Bass), Jakub Łukowski (Drums)

Artist : Amorphis

Album : Live at Helsinki Ice Hall

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 03-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

We start this playlist of the last concerts released in 2021 by the Finns of Amorphis 'who are now a benchmark in the field of metal and who browse their rich discography, their first album 'Karelian Isthmus' dating back almost 30 years. And, having a live of 'Amorphis', it's not common because apart from a release in 2010 with 'Forging The Thousand Lakes' and the short bonus album 'An Evening With Friends' in 2017, the Finns haven't spoiled their fans too much with their concert album releases for 3 decades. But let's not sulk our pleasure because this concert 'Live at Helsinki Ice Hall', of an hour and a half, offers 15 titles which were recorded in the city which saw them begin, and consists of half of recent compositions (8 of the last two albums 'Under the Red Cloud' of 2015 and 'Queen of Time' of 2018) but also highlights their first period of the 90s. And what better during this troubled time than to have a live performance of a group that releases an impressive energy, the live bringing an additional dimension of power. In short, beyond the fans of the Finns who will certainly keep this album on repeat for a long time, 'Live at Helsinki Ice Hall' is an excellent concert which should satisfy all fans of a powerful and melodic metal at the same time...

Line Up / Musicians

Tomi Joutsen (Vocal), Esa Holopainen (Guitar), Tomi Koivusaari (Guitar), Ollie-Pekka Laine (Bass), Santeri Kallio (Keybords), Jan Rechberger (Drums)

Artist : 22 Layers

Album : Isotope

Release Date : 21-05-2021

Added : 04-08-2021

I discovered 'Tony Lowe' with his 'ESP Project' and he released the album '22 Layers of Sunlight' under the project name 'ESP 2.0'. It is now under the name of '22 Layers' that he released in May 2021 'Isotope' with 'Peter Coyle' on vocals who was already present in the 'ESP 2.0' project. The name of the project is still different but, make no mistake, we find this atmospheric progressive rock with influences from the 70s, the two names I mentioned with the last 'ESP Project' album,'Barclay James Harvest' for the melodic side and 'Pink Floyd' for the more progressive side being still present.

And yet, 'Soundtrack and the Score' is based on a fast tempo in the verses but leads to a memorable much slower chorus bringing a nice rhythmic opposition, then, 'Blue Sky Volcano' is a delicate first ballad while in retained on which one is lulled by the soft voice of 'Peter Coyle', atmosphere which one finds on the following track 'Equinox' with sounds of electro keyboards. With 'The Sun Is Going Down', we continue our journey in poetic landscapes with 'Floydian' instrumental parts, then, 'Purple Aniseed' slightly hardens the tone with some saturated guitar riffs for a direct rock that can remind of 'Barclay James Harvest' by vocal resemblance. Return to a calm and peaceful atmosphere with 'Invisible Threads' which unrolls a sensual melody and, with 'Hello Algorithm', the rougher guitar riffs alternate with a quieter chorus having a new memorable melody dotted here and there with new electro effects. Follows the remastered single 'Traveling Alone' which brings us back to a delicate and melancholy atmosphere reminiscent once again of 'BJH', then, the title song which ends this very beautiful album takes us on a new slow tempo which begins with an instrumental section that the 'Floyds' would not have denied, then we let ourselves be carried away by the song of' Peter Coyle 'in a new aerial melody which approaches the sounds of 'Alan Parsons Project'.

In summary, this new studio recording by the duo 'Tony Lowe'/'Peter Coyle' is, unsurprisingly, in the same vein as their previous creation which makes 'Isotope' a very pleasant album to listen to in this summer period and which should appeal to an audience loving quiet and poetic atmospheres...

Line Up / Musicians

Tony Lowe (Guitar, Keybords, Programmation Drums), Peter Coyle (Vocal)

Artist : Edu Falaschi

Album : Vera Cruz

Release Date : 18-05-2021

Added : 10-06-2021

'Edu Falaschi' is well known to fans of power metal for being a part of 'Angra' until 2012 and which after voice problems, continues in solo (see these latest albums here and here) but also with the 'Almah' group. 2020 saw the release of a DVD in Japan, 'The Temple Of Shadows', which celebrated 15 years of the studio recording by 'Angra' and which was the subject of a short EP internationally but which can be found in full on youtube, the artist not having had the rights internationally (see here). And after the 2018 single, 'The Glory of the Sacred Truth' who saw a return to Edu's source with original 'Angra' drummer 'Aquiles Priester', 2021 sees the release of a new album 'Vera Cruz' which continues in what 'Angra' could do when Edu and Aquiles were present. We find this trademark of the group, an epic power metal alternating frenzied compositions and long, much calmer developments which tells us the story of the discovery of the new world by the Portuguese in 1500 and of which they will give the name of Vera Cruz. : they had simply discovered what will become Brazil.

Musically, everything is gathered to accompany us in this story with melodic hymns that we immediately appropriate, and, after, the instrumental introduction 'Burden', de rigueur in this kind of album, ' The Ancestry 'takes us on a fast and fiery neo-classical track with a heady first melody and with a raging rhythm section, then' Sea of Uncertainties' continues in an equally fast tempo for a typical track of a powerful and melodic power metal, Edu Falaschi's performance being remarkable in this epic style and the central guitar solo just as dazzling. We will find this flamboyant and powerful style in 3 other compositions, 'Crosses', 'Fire with Fire' and 'Mirror of Delusion', all being melodic musts. But the great strength of this album is to vary the styles, since apart from the short instrumental interlude 'Frol de la Mar' which is the introduction of 'Crosses', the 5 other compositions bring a variety with 3 magnificent power ballades 'Skied in Your Eyes', 'Bonfire of the Vanities' and 'Rainha Do Luar' and 2 epic long developments that alone are worth buying this album,' Land Ahoy' being a nearly 10 minute sequel with a melody which triggers this characteristic little thrill of intense listening happiness and with remarkable alternations of tempos and intensity supported by sumptuous vocal harmonies, then, 'Face of the Storm', a little less long but which, in a style just as epic, takes us on an eventful journey tinged with progressive with beautiful choirs and impressive growls of 'Max Cavalera'.

In summary, 'Edu Falaschi' returns to the epic style of the beginning of Angra 'and this new album is a superb mix of power metal between energetic and powerful moments and others much calmer and' Vara Cruz ' will certainly be well received by historical Angra fans but should also appeal to all those who love the power metal concept albums that reached their peak in the early 2000s...

Line Up / Musicians

Edu Falaschi (Vocal), Aquiles Priester (Drums), Roberto Barros (Guitar), Diogo Mafra (Guitar), Raphael Dafras (Bass), Fábio Laguna (Keybords) + Guest : Max Cavalera (Vocal)

Artist : Subterranean Masquerade

Album : Mountain Fever

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 06-06-2021

After the very good 'Vagabond' released in 2017, 'Subterranean Masquerade', composed of artists of Israeli origin, released a new album 'Mountain Fever' and we happily find this mix of east and west in a diversity of styles that the one could qualify as progressive music of the world, traditional music rubbing shoulders genres such as rock or metal. This latest opus sees a change to the vocal section as 'Davidavi (vidi) Dolev' replaces 'Kjetil Nordhus' for the clear vocals and 'Ashmedi Melechesh' has been invited in place of 'Paul Kuhr' for the extreme vocals. We also find many guests, the drummer d 'Orphaned Land' being always present, but also other artists from the large family of Israeli artists who bring their talent as instrumentalists or singers (see below).

On the menu of this new opus, 10 tracks for an hour of music and we are greeted by 'Snake Charmer' in a melodic atmosphere that we immediately tame and which makes it one of the most conventional titles. Follows the ballad 'Diaspora My Love' which is a remarkable crescendo throughout the title and which is the first composition to bring a variety of style whether in terms of intensities (a few growls alongside a clear and soft song) but also in the level of instrumentations mixing acoustic and electric with some oriental musical phrases, then, change of style with the melodic and joyful 'Mountain Fever' with its heady melody (the introduction can recall the ambiances of the Tunisians of 'Myrath') and which is then a brilliant patchwork of influences that takes us on a very exotic journey and all this in less than 6 minutes. We find this diversity in 'Inward' which follows, perhaps even more marked, which after a long instrumental introduction, combines metal guitar chords and growls with the sweetness of the song of 'Vidi' and whose melody merges east and occident and which has an amazing ending with this unbridled saxophone and rhythm section. With 'Somewhere I Sadly Belong', it is certainly the most contrasted composition which begins quietly and which brutally, pours us an extreme metal made of enraged growls but which, in the second part, is much calmer and whose melodic theme accompanies us until the end in decrescendo. We return to a very peaceful atmosphere with the beginning of 'The Stillnox Oratory' but which turns out to be a magnificent new crescendo which gradually gains momentum, to end in a vocal joust between angry growls and powerful clear vocals which suddenly falls with a few piano notes. A more classic 'Ascend' follows which offers beautiful variations of intensity in a very catchy melodic theme, the vocal performance of 'Vidi' and the vocal arrangements of the chorus being remarkable (see video here), then, 'Ya Shema Evyonecha', sung in Hebrew, makes us escape again with this exquisite mix between traditional sounds and the power of electric instruments by making it one of the titles closest to universal world music (which comforts me even more in the idea that it is these bringing together of different cultures which are the source of a remarkable creation). A more classic 'Ascend' follows which offers beautiful variations of intensity in a very catchy melodic theme, the vocal performance of 'Vidi' and the vocal arrangements of the chorus being remarkable, then, 'Ya Shema Evyonecha', sung in Hebrew, makes us escape again with this exquisite mix between traditional sounds and the power of electric instruments by making it one of the titles closest to universal world music (which comforts me even more in the idea that it is these bringing together of different cultures which are the source of a remarkable creation). I have to say that extreme vocals have never appealed to me, but it is clear that the long development 'For The Leader, With Strong Music' is a completely addicting progressive tangle and that these growls are not an end in itself, but are completely integrated into this admirable patchwork which casts a wide net and which embark us in a musical round of the earth in 8 minutes. Finally, 'Mångata' brings us out of the beautiful dream into which the group had plunged us with a moving ballad highlighting the acoustic instruments guitar and bouzouki.

In summary, this latest album from 'Subterranean Masquerade' is very rich and varied and is enjoyed with happiness from start to finish and shows that the Israelis have reached a level of maturity that allows them to tackle every styles, which destines 'Mountain Fever' to all amateurs of a multicultural progressive who also like to mix different musical genres...

Line Up / Musicians

Davidavi (vidi) Dolev (Vocal), Tomer Pink (Guitar), Omer Fishbein (Guitar), Or Shalev (Guitar), Shai Yallin (Keybords), Golan Farhi (Bass) + Guests : Matan Shmuely (Drums), Ashmedi Melechesh (Vocal), Idan David Amsalem (Guitar), Uri Shefi (Oud, Iouta, Bouzouki), Jackie Hole (Vocal), Yatziv Caspi (Percussions), Neta Maimon (Cello), Oren Tsor (Violin, Alto), Idit Mintzer (Cuivres), Alon Karnieli (Chœurs), Idan Kringle (Chœurs), Matan Carlos (Chœurs) Mandelbaum, Richard Aevum (Chœurs), Yakir Sasson (Bois), Hadar Levi (Guitar)

Artist : Joe Bailey

Album : Ghosts

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 14-06-2021

Casually, 'Joe Bailey' continues to release albums and 'Ghosts' is now his 6th studio recording since 2015, when his first baby was released 'The End Comes Too Late'. In the meantime, I reviewed in 2018, the fourth album 'A Price to Pay' and 2019 saw the release of 'Less Nothing'.

6 compositions between 4 and nearly 8 minutes long, this is the menu of this opus that takes us on a journey into the progressive universe of Joe with always accessible melodic lines and a predominant use of keyboards, the whole always being supported by heavy bass lines. 'Haunted House' is the perfect example with a memorable melodic theme that kept us spellbound during almost 9 minutes with a beautiful vocal performance by Joe and instrumental sections that alternate beautifully with the sung parts, then, 'River of Spite ', while remaining powerful, is a mid-tempo in a quieter atmosphere with a new heady melody and which highlights different keyboard sounds. With 'Waiting', the introduction to electronic sounds à la 'Jean-Michel Jarre' gives way to a slow and aerian melody with imposing bass then the tempo alternates in the middle of the title with a marked rhythm section to then return to the atmospheric atmosphere which gains momentum for the final. The second part of the album offers us the beautiful and melancholic ballad 'Abracadabra', then, the last two long titles 'Rat Race' and 'Ghosts' are in a more classical construction, verses/chorus with melodies that we tame immediately, the first alternating verses supported by jerky keyboards and a more relaxed chorus and the second offering us an imaginative and varied rock with a remarkable vocal performance, Joe having this talent to adapt his voice according to the atmosphere of each part.

In summary, the Englishman 'Joe Bailey', always so discreet on the web, released a very pleasant album to listen to in the lineage of his previous productions and 'Ghosts' should appeal to an audience loving progressive rock with an easy access thanks to pleasant melodic lines immediately assimilable...

Line Up / Musicians

Joe Bailey (Vocal, Guitar, Bass, Keybords, Drums)

Artist : Carmeria

Album : Advenae

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 16-06-2021

After the melodic rock album of the group of 'Revlin Project' which took us to South America which is not necessarily the place where we are used to having this style of music, here is another atypical country, this time in the field of symphonic metal, since it is the Australians of 'Carmenia' who are releasing their first studio album. And after listening to 'Advenae' for the first time, we quickly realize that they are likely to make themselves known quite quickly on the international scene because this first opus has everything to compete with the best formations of the genre and contains everything that everything. connoisseur of symphonic metal seeks in this style: epic atmospheres, the power of metal, rich and sumptuous orchestral and vocal arrangements, a female singer in most cases or a singer more rarely in a lyrical or clear register accompanied in some cases by extreme vocals and direct and effective melodies that we quickly appropriate. And this definition applies perfectly to the Australians of 'Carmenia' whose singer 'Jordan Von Grae' has nothing to envy to a 'Tommy Karevik'.

And it all begins with the eponymous instrumental of the album, usual in this musical genre, bathed in an epic atmosphere at will, then, 'Morningstar' opens hostilities with a first melodic hit whose chorus immediately falls into head without going out, 'Carpe Noctem' which follows, adding growls in an equally energetic and melodic atmosphere which gives an irresistible desire to headbang to the rhythm of incisive guitar riffs. The suite continues with heady melodies and parades compositions all as effective as each other, such as 'En Rapture' and its introduction close to 'Epica' or 'To Lead the Blind', combining the power of metal with quieter moments, just like 'Solaris' which deploys an addictive new melody, or even 'Starfall' which sends us yet another memorable chorus. The quieter moments are not forgotten and the power ballads are four in number which brings a very good balance to the whole album, and parade melodic jewels that are 'Relinquished', 'Celestia', 'Veil of Sanctitude 'and' Halo 'all equally effective. And the icing on the cake, the last title offers us a long epic development which sums up all the facets of 'Carmenia', grandiose orchestral and vocal arrangements, some power alternating with much calmer sections, remarkable breaks rhythm and magnificent guitar solos, all accompanied by irresistible melodic lines. Note that the Australians have not done things by halves because they have also uploaded remarkable videos with 'Relinquished', 'To Lead The Blind', 'Celestia', 'Morningstar', 'Solaris' and finally 'Carpe Noctem'.

In summary, 2020 saw the arrival of 'MoonSun' on the symphonic metal scene with 'Escapalace' which had been for me the revelation in this style, and this year sees another formation coming from Australia just as talented to appear and to offer us a remarkable album which will undoubtedly mark a whole public liking symphonic metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Jordan Von Grae (Vocal), Jerry Zahija (Guitar, Vocal), Liza Gudkova (Keybords), Tory Giamba (Bass, Vocal), Johny Rock (Drums)

Artist : Acolyte

Album : Entropy

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 22-06-2021

'Acolyte' is an Australian band that I discovered with their second album 'Entropy', the short LP 'Shades of Black' being released in 2016. And what an album! from the first listen, we are transported into a progressive universe ranging from rock to metal with an extraordinary richness and density, merging different styles ranging from atmospheric to power through symphonic, all this with easily assimilated melodic lines and a female singer who masters her subject from start to finish with an irreproachable vocal technique. I find somehow a remarkable patchwork of formations that I particularly like, ranging from 'Pink-Floyd' to 'Ayreon' through 'Sons of Apollo', 'Threshold', 'Riverside', 'Mystery' or even 'Therion' to name a few showing the diversity encountered on this album.

From the short instrumental 'Prelude', the few bars take us into an epic atmosphere to introduce the album's first eponymous long development (voir vidéo ici) which takes us through different soundscapes with multiple twists, going from an energetic section with a rhythmic base of progressive metal with addictive melodic lines to an atmospheric part 'Floydienne' with a guitar solo 'Gilmourien' and vocalizations touching the stars (reminding me of those of 'Atom Heart Mother'), bringing the very beautiful final in crescendo. Despite its shorter duration, the next track 'Resentment' (see video above) is an imaginative progressive metal digest with wonderful rhythmic changes, then, the 10 minutes of 'Clarity' (voir vidéo ici) re-embark us on a new sumptuous journey, beginning with a slow progression in an hypnotic rhythm and which reveals instrumental and vocal variations around the theme to gradually increase in power in a masterful way and offer new digressions with remarkable vocal arrangements to finally fall back into decrescendo in the finale. Then follows the short semi-acoustic ballad 'Resilience' with folk tones which allows a welcome ventilation between the long compositions, then, 'Idiosyncracy', the longest track, continues to make us travel, this time in oriental countries with beautiful vocal volutes which rub shoulders with more western melodic lines and the sumptuous instrumental arrangements halfway reveal sonic treasures accompanied by an exotic rhythm section, the second part returning to the melodic theme of the beginning enriched by very beautiful orchestrations and which ends with a few keyboards. Second small break, 'Solitude' is based on sound effects which serves as an introduction to the instrumental 'Recovery' which deploys a quiet atmospheric atmosphere in which we let ourselves be lulled and whose final on the piano is beautiful, then, the album ends with the long composition 'Acceptance' which, after the very calm climate of 'Recovery', continues in a 'Floydian' atmosphere with an aerial guitar alternating with beautiful vocalizations of 'Morgan-Leigh Brown' and which takes its flight after 3 minutes for a part whose marked rhythm alternates with breaks in intensity and tempos and which highlights in the second part remarkable guitar and keyboard solos. And with all that, I didn't take the time to tell you about the theme, I'm quoting 'Morgan-Leigh Brown': " 'Entropy' is a fully realised conceptual record exploring the early stages of 'loss'. Presented like diary entries, the record ebbs and flows through an array of actions, feelings & emotions that are commonly experienced when trying to ground oneself all while carrying the early weight of trauma. "

In summary, Acolyte's Australians' released an album that will undoubtedly mark the year 2021 in progressive because it is of a considerable density and variety by merging different styles and, as often in this case, requires repeated listening to draw all the richness which destines 'Entropy' to a progressive audience who like to take their time to discover little by little a concept album...

Line Up / Musicians

Morgan-Leigh Brown (Vocal), David Van Pelt (Keybords), Chris Cameron (Drums), Jason Grondman (Bass, Choirs), Pete Borzęta (Guitar)

Artist : Levara

Album : Levara

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 03-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Levara' is a new formation which was born from the meeting of the French singer 'Jules Galli', the American guitarist 'Trev Lukather' and the English drummer 'Josh Devine'. We already knew the first four singles, 'Heaven Knows', 'Chameleon', 'Automatic' and 'Ever Enough' released a few months ago (see their youtube channel here) which already gave us a good idea of the musical direction, offering us a rather quiet AOR with harmonious melodies that we immediately appropriate and which is directly influenced by the major melodic rock formations of the 80s (normal because in the Lukather family, I would like father Luke: I have, he was one of the founding members of 'Toto'). So, six new original compositions have been added and which are all in the same style and we spend a very pleasant time listening to this first LP of the trio to which is added the guest bassist 'Sam Porcaro' and the choirs of former 'Journey' singer 'Steve Perry' (expected to release a new album soon, listen to the new single here). In short, this new cosmopolitan melodic rock project shows the talent of these artists which offers us a very good melodic rock album and which should run in a loop among a lot of fans of formations of this style which takes us back four decades back into the time machine...

Line Up / Musicians

Jules Galli (Vocal), Trev Lukather (Guitar), Josh Devine (Drums) + Guests : Sam Porcaro (Bass), Steve Perry (Chœurs)

Artist : Seventh Crystal

Album : Delirium

Release Date : 14-05-2021

Added : 05-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

Guess where this new 'Seventh Crustal' melodic hard-rock project came from. Obviously from a Nordic country and in this case from Sweden with, at the base, the singer 'Kristian Fyhr' who surrounded himself with instrumentalists to finally create a formation which was spotted by the 'Frontiers' label. And the result is a set of 12 compositions which takes us in a modern AOR whose influences are well heard drawn from the 80s/90s with melodic lines immediately assimilable and which fit perfectly into the playlist that I have been offering to you since the beginning of June. The first four tracks give a perfect sample of this album with first of all two catchy songs with 'Say What You Need To Say' and 'When We Were Young', then, two other quieter compositions with first of all the beautiful ballad 'Broken Mirror' and the mid-tempo 'Delirium' and its endearing melody. The rest is in the image of this beginning and addictive melodies parade one after the other for our greatest pleasure. Note also the remarkable acoustic covers available on the youtube page of 'Frontiers' from 'When We Were Young' and 'Broken Mirror'. In summary, 'Seventh Crystal' is a very promising new project which has been added to the already impressive list of Swedish formations and 'Delirium' is to be enjoyed without moderation and should appeal to a whole audience adept of a melodic hard-rock influenced by the 80s/90s...

Line Up / Musicians

Kristian Fyhr (Vocal), Emil Dornerus (Guitar), Johan Älvsång (Keybords), Olof Gadd (Bass), Anton Roos (Drums)

Artist : Teramaze

Album : Sorella Minore

Release Date : 11-05-2021

Added : 02-06-2021

'Teramaze' is a progressive metal band created in the 90s and had a period of inactivity in the 2000s and returned with 'Anhedonia' in 2012. Since this year, the Australians released studio recordings regularly, the latest being 'I Wonder' in 2020. 2021 sees the release of 'Sorella Minore' which continues the story of 'Her Hallo' recounting the adventures of two sisters, one of whom died in a suspect accident and the other, his youngest, is kidnapped in a castle far from the outside world.

This opus contains only 4 titles but the first which is the title song is a long development of more than 25 minutes and embarks us in a progressive saga which obviously requires to linger there to draw all the richness because we navigate in a labyrinth made of multiple nooks and crannies, alternating all kinds of atmospheres and with a melodic theme which returns in different forms, grafting itself quite quickly into our head. The rest of the album features, first of all, the ballad 'Stones' which unfolds a beautiful slow and melancholic melody in which 'Dean Wells' offers us a beautiful vocal performance and a remarkable 'Floydien' guitar solo, then , 'Take You Shot' is a rather linear energetic track and moves away from the progressive, the album ending with a new ballad, 'Between The Shadows', as strong in emotion as the first, and which ends in a very beautiful way. the album (see video here ).

In summary, the Australians of 'Teramaze' make us travel in their progressive universe which merges rock and metal and which makes us go through all kinds of feelings with a great emotional force; 'Sorella Minore' should appeal to an audience loving rock and progressive metal who love to abandon themselves in long developments...

Line Up / Musicians

Dean Wells (Guitar, Vocal), Andrew Cameron (Bass), Chris Zoupa (Guitar), Nick Ross (Drums) + Guests : Nathan Peachey (Vocal), Silvio Massaro (Vocal), Jennifer Borg (Vocal)

Artist : Single Celled Organism

Album : Percipio Ergo Sum

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 15-05-2021

'Jens Lueck' who founded the Studio 'Art Of Music' in 1993 and who has collaborated with artists like 'Syrinx Call' et 'Isgaard', his lifelong companion, has also created his own solo project 'Single Celled Organism' with a first quality album, 'Splinter in the Eye' released in 2017 and the German signs its second album 'Percipio Ergo Sum' released the 7 of May. We therefore find the progressive style of the German influenced by all the major artists of the 70s with catchy melodic lines at first listening and this last opus continues the story of 'Splinter in the Eye' which ended with a global attack with biological weapons which had released an extremely dangerous virus (remember that the album was released in 2017 but that doesn't remind you of something ?). Being part of the 5% of survivors of this epidemic, Doctor Barnaby and the 'television girl' he had created, therefore continue their adventure and this second part sees the young girl facing the real world but without the help of her protective and her credo is diverted from the 'Cogito ergo sum' of 'Descartes' in favor of a 'Percipio Ergo Sum' : I perceive, therefore I am (For more details, you can find the story on the website by Jens here).

The calm opening 'She's Awake' sets the scene with a long instrumental part in a slight crescendo then the short part sung by 'Jens' accompanied by 'Isgaard' for the choirs announces the awakening of the young girl, then, 'The Final Door' unfolds a sweet melody punctuated by 'Floydian' instrumental solos whether on keyboards or guitar with remarkable breaks throughout the title. 'I'd Like to See' which follows is a slow lament from Doctor Barnaby in which 'Jens Lueck' raises the emotional cursor in his vocals, then 'Ride on a Ray', after a clean first part, then shows a face more catchy in which the young girl discovers the beauty of the world, and 'Doubts' offers us a magnificent ballad which triggered me on several occasions this small characteristic thrill of a great listening pleasure with a slight crescendo in which the heroine would like to learn everything about this world that she is discovering and which in the second part offers a very beautiful guitar solo. Follows 'Save Me from Dreaming' which is a melodic 'Floydien' jewel in which 'Isgaard' moves us to tears when she sings 'Please save me' followed by 'I'm Not Human' which puts still ahead 'Isgaard' in a new lament of the girl with a rise in power and tempo throughout the title with a remarkable instrumental final runaway. With 'Hey You', we find the atmosphere of that of the 'Floyds' which is in a way a cry to awaken the conscience, then, the short' Humble 'lulls us listening to the aerial voice of Isgaard' who has managed to free herself to find an inner peace and 'Entanglement Runs Off' which follows and is almost 9 minutes long, takes us on a progressive saga with a good balance between instrumental and sung parts and an inventive rhythm section, the long guitar solo in the second part being very beautiful, the album ending with the short and stripped 'Inhale the Dark' in which 'Jens' and 'Isgaard' move us one last time in their admirable piano/voice duets : simply beautiful !

In summary, this second album from the 'Single Celled Organism' project of 'Jens Lueck' takes us on a magnificent journey in which we surrender completely thanks to magnificent melodies in peaceful and serene atmospheres. 'Percipio Ergo Sum' is an album filled with a very special emotion and is to be tasted in a quiet place to enjoy all the richness of each composition : for all lovers of an original, rich and melodic progressive rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Jens Lueck (Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keybords, Vocal), Isgaard (Vocal), Ingo Salzmann (Guitar), Johnny Beck (Guitar), Jürgen Osuchowski (Guitar), Katja Flintsch (Violin, Alto), Olek Bakki (Cello), Volker Kuinke (Recording), Kai Ritter (Voix)

Artist : Scarved

Album : Flashback

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 31-05-2021

The Belgians of 'Scarved' are back with a new album, 'Flashback', after 'Lodestone' in 2017. They continue to offer us muscular hard-rock and we find on the vocals 'Caro Verboven' which always ensures as much and, as for the guitar solos of 'Luc Van Dessel', they are still excellent. The influences remain anchored in the hard-rock of the 70s/80s and we can hear reminiscences of formations like 'Deep Purple' with for example the heavy 'Nightshift' which looks like a certain 'Into The Fire' or like 'AC/DC' with very characteristic guitar saturated riffs in 'Poison Kiss', the ballad break not being forgotten with the very good 'Lost In Space' beautifully sung by 'Caro Verboven'. In short, this new album of 'Scarved' is filled with a good energy which should appeal to all fans of a muscular and direct hard-rock which is consumed without any moderation...

Line Up / Musicians

Caro Verboven (Vocal), Luc Van Dessel (Guitar, Chœurs), Vincent De Laat (Bass, Chœurs), Kjell de Raes (Drums, Chœurs)

Artist : False Memories

Album : The Last Night of Fall

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 20-06-2021

'False Memories' is a new Italian project created in 2015 by guitarist 'Francesco Savino' and whose debut album 'Chimerical' released digitally in 2018 with a debut singer 'Valentina Pucci' and which was re-released in 2019 with two bonus tracks sung by new singer 'Rossella Moscatello'. Tagged in gothic/doom metal, after a first listen, we realize that the metal component is present by the presence of saturated guitar riffs quite measured and that emerges from the whole a rather peaceful atmosphere mixing melancholy and sensuality with accessible melodic lines. In this opus, I find the atmospheres of 'Stream Of Passion' especially since the singing of 'Rossella Moscatello' shows similarities in the interpretations with that of 'Marcelo Bovio'.

And from the first titles 'Black Shades', 'Rain of Souls' and 'Voices', we are bathed in a sensual atmosphere with remarkable vocal performances of 'Rossella Moscatello' which convey a beautiful emotion, the guitars bringing a kind of quiet force alternating power and calm in moderate rhythms. The following of the album is quite similar with 'Hysteria' and 'The Illusionist' which unroll at slow tempos with bewitching melodies on which we completely surrender, then 'Erased' and 'White Crows' which follow suit, brings me back again to the constructions of 'Stream Of Passion' made of tension and relaxation, the vocal variations between power and tranquility of 'Rossella Moscatello' being very close to those of 'Marcela Bovio'. The end of the album is in the same spirit and parade 'Unfaithful Dream' quite close to some titles of the first albums d'Evanescence', the melodic 'Sea of Nothingness' with hypnotic scents, the powerful and heavy 'Deep Breath' and 'Don't Forget' which concludes the album with a last haunting melancholy power ballad.

In summary, even if we regret a lack of variety that makes the album quite linear, the Italians of 'False Memories' are releasing an album filled with endearing compositions that should appeal to a gothic and symphonic metal audience loving slow tempos and powerful ambiences filled with a certain melancholy...

Line Up / Musicians

Rossella Moscatello (Vocal), Francesco Savino (Guitar), Moreno Palmisano (Guitar), Gianluca Zaffino (Bass), Emanuele Cossu (Drums)

Artist : Save The World

Album : Two

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 27-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

It is still in the direction of the United States that we are heading with 'Save The World' which is a formation that has to its credit an album, simply called 'One' released in 2017 and the search for album names is definitely not their greatest quality because their latest baby , which is therefore the second album (for those who do not follow) is called… 'Two'. But, this is actually not where we expect them and, it is clear that this 'Two' contains everything that we ask for a very good melodic hard-rock album with slight forays into the progressive in some titles. And from the start with 'Camera Obscurra', it starts well with a composition which flirts with a classy AOR with some modulations of intensity, then, 'Bones' takes over with a catchy rhythm with sounds of keyboards inherited from the 80s., and 'Miss Muse' (see video above) continues with a melodic jewel whose chorus never lets you go. The rest is like the beginning and each title could have been the subject of a single, whether the atmosphere is energetic (see video of 'Defenders of the Faith' here) or more measured because the Americans also offer us calmer rhythms with' When Amanda Hits The Stage ', but also remarkable ballads like the semi-acoustic 'Daphne Blue' and the beautiful power ballad 'Longer'.

In short, this second album from the Americans of 'Save The World' is yet to be added to the best melodic hard-rock releases of 2021 which should satisfy fans of melodic hard-rock and AOR...

Line Up / Musicians

Dan Tracey (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Robert Wright (Bass, Keybords, Drums)

Artist : Sonic Haven

Album : Vagabond

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 29-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Sonic Haven' stands out slightly from the melodic hard-rock playlist since their niche is more in a powerful power metal but given the diversity of the songs, I included it in the playlist for the first half of 2021 in rock and hard - melodic rock. Lead by the German singer 'Herbie Langhans' well known on the international metal scene ('Avantasia', 'Voodo Circle', 'Sinbreed', 'Beyonf The Bridge' and 'Firewind'), this first opus offers us compositions ranging from AOR to a muscular power metal, all accompanied by unifying melodies that we want to sing along in chorus. Admittedly, the majority of the tracks are overflowing with energy and the beginning of the album shows this with the fast 'Vagabond' and its heady chorus, followed by a 'Back To Mad' with a rhythmic slightly behind but just as unleashed, 'Nightmare' which follows having nothing to envy on these two predecessors. The sequel is more varied with a catchy 'Keep The Flame Alive', just like 'End of the World' which follows or the last track 'Striking Back' with its heady chorus and its impressive guitar solo by 'Carsten Stepanowicz' (very good throughout this opus) and we can also note the heavy rather addictive mid-tempo 'The Darker Side', the catchy 'From White to Black' closer to melodic hard-rock and the ballad 'Save the Best for Last', certainly classic but so effective. In short, 'Sonic Haven' releases an album filled with good energy with a singer who sends us heavy from start to finish which should appeal to a classical power metal audience but also could reach fans of a melodic and energetic hard-rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Herbie Langhans (Vocal), Carsten Stepanowicz (Guitar), Dominik Stotzem (Bass), André Hilgers (Drums)

Artist : Robin McAuley

Album : Standing On The Edge

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 01-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

Melodic, still melodic and more and more melodic, the playlist of melodic rock / hard-rock releases for the first half of 2021 that you can check out above continues to be populated every other day, and this time it's with singer from 'Michael Schenker Group', 'Robin McAuley' who has just released a new album under his name, 'Standing On The Edge', surrounded by artists from the hard-rock scene with among others, the famous archi known 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' since he produces his album with 'Frontiers' (little research on myprogmusic here). He offers us 8 compositions that he co-wrote with 'Alessandro Del Vecchio', 'Phil Lanzon', 'Howard Leese' and 'Tommy Denander' respectively coming to lend a hand to Robin for one track each. No surprise, with such artists, we are immersed in an AOR taking us back to the 80s with melodies that graft directly into the head with energetic guitar riffs of 'Andrea Seveso' softened by keyboards held by 'Alessandro Del Vecchio'. Each track could have been the subject of a single and the whole is mostly made up of measured rhythms with the exception of the tracks 'Thy Will Be Done', 'Chosen Few', 'Like a Ghost' and 'Running out of Time' a little more faster and just as addictive as the mid-tempos 'Standing on the Edge', 'Do You Remember', 'Say Goodbye' or even 'Supposed to Do Now' which all have choruses that we want to take up in chorus, without forgetting the two beautiful ballads 'Late December' and 'Run Away'. In short, nothing to throw in this opus which is listened to happily from start to finish with a 'Robin McAuley' which has nothing to envy to the best singers of this style and if you are a fan of melodic rock of the 80s, you should definitely adopt 'Standing On The Edge'...

Line Up / Musicians

Robin McAuley (Vocal), Andrea Seveso (Guitar), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keybords, Bass, Chœurs), Nicholas Papapicco (Drums) + Guest : Howard Leese (Guitar)

Artist : Jessie Lee & The Alchemists

Album : Let It Shine

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 27-07-2021

After a first eponymous album of the name of the group (see here) released in 2018 and very noticed by the specialized press, the French of 'Jessie Lee & The Alchemists' led by the singer and guitarist 'Jessie Lee Houllier' return to the front of the blues/rock scene with their second opus 'Let It Shine'. A little tune from 'Beth hart' and the resemblance does not end there, because Jessie is an outstanding singer who, in addition to perfectly mastering her singing, has a gift for conveying emotions, whether in energetic atmospheres but also when the blues / rock wants to be more subdued.

We have two examples of this entry with, first of all, 'Another' and its swaying rhythm bringing us back to the best of rock of the 70s and reminiscent of a certain 'Led Zeppelin', and then, 'But You Lie' which takes you into a sensual blues that is enjoyed with happiness. The rest is in the image of this beginning with melodies that we immediately appropriate and we can quote the catchy 'You Gotta' or 'Get Out Of My Head' in a more direct style but also good blues/rock that starts immediately the feet tapping machine like 'The Same' or 'Sometimes' (see video above), not to mention the quieter moments with the eponymous title of the album or the magnificent 'One Only Thing' (see video here). We can also note that Jessie is surrounded by talented musicians, with 'Alexis Didier' on the guitar which has nothing to envy the greatest guitarists of this style (listen to this magical bond between the singer and the guitarist in 'Sometimes'), 'Laurian Daire' on keyboards bringing the binder to the whole and a remarkable rhythm section with 'Laurent Cokelaere' on bass and 'Stéphane Minana' on drums.

In short, no need to add more, this 'Let It Shine' which is listened to happily from start to finish is to be put on the same level as the recordings of international blues/rock tenors and should take a good place in the album collection of any amateur and lover of this style...

Line Up / Musicians

Jessie Lee (Vocal, Guitar), Alexis Didier (Guitar), Laurent Cokelaere (Bass), Laurian Daire (Keybords), Stéphane Minana (Drums) + Guests : Amalya Delepierre (Chœurs), Eva Suissa (Chœurs), Sylvain Fétis (Saxophone), Vincent Payen (Trompette)

Artist : Todd Michael Hall

Album : Sonic Healing

Release Date : 07-05-2021

Added : 29-07-2021

The singer of 'Riot V' had the idea of releasing a solo album after his stint on the American show 'The Voice', having been spotted by country music singer 'Blake Shelton'. With the collaboration of guitarist 'Kurdt Vanderhoof' from 'Metal Church' his first baby 'Sonic Healing' was released in May 2021. Although these two artists are part of heavy metal bands that are not known for being in lace, the compositions of this opus are much more moderate and oriented towards a rock melodic that flirts with the great classic rock and hard-rock formations and we find as many influences of groups like 'Foreigner', 'Deep Purple' or 'Uriah Heep' or even 'Status Quo' to name only groups from the 70s who have released albums in recent years.

In the energetic register, the introductory track 'Overdrive' is a pure jewel of effective hard rock with good incisive guitar riffs and with a singer who ensures a high-level vocal performance. We can also cite compositions like 'Let Loose Tonight' with its catchy rhythm driven by an irresistible bass, the mid-tempo 'All on the line' which give an irresistible desire to move or 'Like No Other' which brings us back to a more classic hard-rock and whose song of Todd shows the full extent of his vocal palette or the muscular melodic hit 'Long Lost Rock & Rollers' which reminds me of certain titles of 'Status Quo'. In a more measured and just as addictive style, 'Running After You' moderates the ardor and the eponymous title of the album also brings more lightness to the whole, just like a very good 'Somebody's Full' with its less strong riffs. We can also cite blues/rock that 'Led Zeppelin' would not have denied with 'Love Rain down' and its swaying rhythm and the two bonuses 'The Other Side' and 'Not with a Sword' which have nothing to envy to other titles.

In short, failing to revolutionize the genre, this solo album by 'Todd Michael Hall' is very pleasant to listen to and contains good rock that feels good and if you like the bands I mentioned above, you should definitely join this 'Sonic Healing' which should take you on a beautiful journey with two talented artists who demonstrate all their talent for this style of music...

Line Up / Musicians

Todd Michael Hall (Vocal), Kurdt Vanderhoof (Guitar)

Artist : RPWL

Album : God Has Failed – Live & Personal

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 23-05-2021

Due to the health crisis, the Germans of 'RPWL' were never able to celebrate the 20 years anniversary of the release of the first album 'God Has Failed' for which they had planned a tour in 2020 and to mark this event, they had the idea to record a new album with live conditions and without an audience which took place on November 14 and 15, 2020 and which is now available for our greatest happiness in streaming but also on DVD and Blu-ray, all versions being available on their online store here .

Being a fan of the group and having reviewed practically all the albums since the creation of myprogmusic end of 2015 (see the different reviews below), this new album allows those who do not yet know this formation which is now essential in the international progressive landscape, to listen to this admirable debut album 'God Has Failed', with a live performance and a production worthy of the best studio recordings, starting with the anthem of the group 'Hole In The Sky' to which came adding female choirs and which always gives me so much pleasure every time I listen to it. Scroll all these compositions which are forever engraved in the heads of the fans and which, at the time had stuck to them the label of " band which played 'Pink-Floyd'" (and of which they had made a title full of humor, 'This Is Not a Progsong' in 2008) but which finally show, 20 years later, that the Germans succeeded in this bet to be recognized as an original formation by gradually erasing this resemblance to 'Pink-Floyd'. Indeed, for my part, this is the feeling that I have because, even if at the beginning, I immediately liked, certainly by this proximity with the music of the 'Floyds', when now I listen to all these songs of 'God Has Failed', it is the name of 'RPWL' which is definitely attached to them. We can also note that some original titles have been rearranged with, for example, the contribution of female vocals in 'Wait Five Years' which brings a very particular sweetness or this addition of the piano accompaniment of 'Crazy Lane' which still increases the very particular emotion released by this very beautiful title. The edition available on Spotify also contains two covers of 'Pink-Floyd', first of all 'Cymbaline' (renamed 'Nightmare' in the 'RPWL' cover album of 'Plays Pink Floyd's 'The Man and the Journey'' o the 'Floyds') and 'Fat Old Sun' from the album 'Atom Heart Mother'

In summary, thanks to 'God Has Failed - Live & Personal', the Germans of 'RPWL' make us rediscover with happiness their first album which is already 20 years old and which will have thereafter 7 little brothers all equally endearing than the others : a nice gift for all the fans and for the others who know little or not this formation and who like a music resulting from the great progressive currents of the 70s, it is the ideal album to enter their discography and you will see without any doubt that all these beautiful melodies quickly become indispensable in your ideal collection of progressive music...

Myprogmusic reviews of 'RPWL' :
= 2016 = 'RPWL Plays Pink Floyd’s ‘The Man and the Journey’'
= 2017 = 'A New Dawn (Live)'
= 2019 = 'Tales From Outer Spaces'
= 2020 = 'Live From Outer Space'

Line Up / Musicians

Yogi Lang (Vocal, Keybords), Kalle Wallner (Guitar, Chœurs), Markus Jehle (Keybords), Marc Turiaux (Drums) + Guests : Frank Thumbach (Bass), Bine Heller (Vocal), Caroline Brunken (Vocal)

Artist : Loonypark

Album : The 7th Dew

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 25-05-2021

After the new album of the project 'tRKproject' of 'Ryszard Kramarski' who is also the leader of the group 'Millenium'. But the Pole is also the founder of the independent label 'Lynx Music' and, in this capacity, produces a new album of his compatriots of 'Loonypark' which evolve in a progressive quite close to the projects of 'Ryszard Kramarski' and 'The 7th Dew' sees the return of singer 'Sabina Godula-Zając' after 'Deep Space Eight' in 2019.

'The Earth' begins the album with a composition that alternates pacing instrumental passages with much quieter sung parts, the piano accompaniments bringing relaxation in opposition with an energetic rhythm section, then, the eponymous title of the album is more classic in construction with a heady and catchy chorus which immediately grafts itself into the head and with a beautiful guitar solo at the end of the title. Follows, 'The Fever' which slows down the tempo with again alternating intensities between the verses and the more rhythmic chorus and accompanied by saturated guitar riffs, then, 'Virtuality', with its 8 minutes, is based on a playful melody in a hopping tempo fairly linear but nevertheless very effective. The second part of the opus highlights quieter compositions with, first of all, the ballad 'The Tree of Life', offering a construction going back to the 70s with a melodious chorus, 'Toxic Unity' which is a magnificent composition bathed in a sensual atmosphere brought by the remarkable vocal performance of 'Sabina Godula-Zając', then, 'The Embrace' continues with a moving and delicate ballad, the album again ending with a ballad, 'The Truth', with a last beautiful melody that we taste pleasantly while being rocked by the soft voice of 'Sabina Godula-Zając'…

In summary, the Poles of 'Lonypark' release a very pleasant album to listen to and if you are a lover of a light progressive favoring quiet and refined atmospheres with accessible melodies, 'The 7th Dew' is, without doubt, made for you...

Line Up / Musicians

Sabina Godula-Zając (Vocal), Piotr Grodecki (Guitar), Krzysztof Lepiarczyk (Keybords), Piotr Lipka (Bass), Grzegorz Fieber (Drums) + Guest : Jacek Szczepaniak (Guitar)

Artist : Renaissance

Album : 50th Anniversary Ashes Are Burning – An Anthology – Live In Concert

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 26-05-2021

The year 2019 saw the band 'Renaissance' celebrate their 50 year career while touring the United States and the concert album which was released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray on April 30, 2021 was recorded at 'Keswick Theater' from Glenside in Pensylvania on October 12, 2019. After 'A Symphonic Journey' in 2018, the English, once again, invited a chamber orchestra to reinterpret compositions which have all become legendary and therefore parade the essentials of this formation that have accompanied us over the 70s and that we keep warm in our memory, starting with 'Islands' from the first album dating from 1969 on which one of the founders of the group 'Jim McCarty' was invited for the occasion and who is also present on 'Ashes Are Burning'. Admittedly, 'Annie Haslam' took a few years since but, her voice is still so characteristic and despite some imperfections on the first two tracks, time to warm up her voice, the whole concert is a real delight and takes us into a wonderful journey through time with these melodies which, for my part, give me goosebumps every time I listen to them.

In short, needless to add, these orchestral versions made to measure for the style of 'Renaissance' allow us to immerse ourselves admirably in all these LPs which, for all fans of progressive who have known this period of 70s of the band, are certainly part of their ideal collection of albums and have, as is my case, have been worn out on the family turntable by adding, day after day, those small significative crakles of the vinyl and which were the witnesses of these multiple listenings...

Line Up / Musicians

Annie Haslam (Vocal), Mark Lambert (Guitar, Chœurs), Rave Tesar (Keybords), Geoffrey Langley (Keybords, Chœurs), Leo Traversa (Bass, Chœurs), Charles Descarfino (Drums, Percussions, Chœurs) + Guests : Jim McCarty (Drums, Percussions, Chœurs), The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra

Artist : Manchester Orchestra

Album : The Million Masks Of God

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 27-05-2021

The Americans of 'Manchester Orchestra', after 'A Black Mile to the Surface' in 2017 which had been very well received by music critics (see the beautiful live in youtube ici),, released a new studio recording 'The Million Masks Of God' in which they tell us the story of a man who is undoubtedly close to death and who re-examines various episodes of his life through the intermediary of the Angel of Death. Given the theme, we find certain atmospheres from the last opus but the whole is certainly less energetic while keeping this great emotional force made of tensions and relaxations with melodic lines which are immediately tamed.

So we navigate in an ocean of emotion starting with 'Inaudible' and its soaring and subtle melody with beautiful vocal harmonies which continues without transition with 'Angel of Death' which gently brings the electric instruments in a resolutely more rock style with nice variations in intensity, then, 'Keel Timing', which was the subject of a single, follows with more electronic sounds in rather classic pop/rock style, which we find again in the following title 'Bed Head' practically on the same schema. With 'Annie', the vocal performance of 'Andy Hull' passes a beautiful emotion and the quiet rhythmic on a soft melody makes it one of the most endearing compositions, then, the second part of the album is much more centered on ballads which materializes for example with the very beautiful 'Telepath' with a particularly delicate voice/acoustic guitar/cello trio, then 'Let It Storm' which brings us back to the song of the 60s with an endearing melody close to what could do 'Simon & Garfunkel' and we find this atmosphere in the following title 'Dinosaur' with a rhythmic rhythm box having electronic sounds. The end of the album features a slight 'Obstacle', then two new ballads with 'Way Back' and 'The Internet', the latter offering a vaporous atmosphere and energetic acceleration in the second part before falling back into the nonchalant melody of the beginning.

In summary, the Americans of 'Manchester Orchestra', theme obliges, are releasing a more introspective album with this characteristic style that exhibits a skin-deep sensitivity and 'The Million Masks Of God' should appeal to a relatively large audience thanks to melodic lines that we appropriate from the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Andy Hull (Guitar, Keybords, Perscussions, Vocal), Ethan Gruska (Guitar, Keybords, Percussions), Robert McDowell (Guitar, Keybords), Andy Prince (Bass), Tim Very (Drums)

Artist : Blacksmith Tales

Album : The Dark Presence

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 29-05-2021

'Blacksmith Tales' is a new symphonic progressive project initiated by the Italian keyboardist and composer 'David Del Fabro'. His debut album 'The Dark Presence' is conceptual and tells the story of a soul in search of the inner light, of its own self, and who, in order to do so, must face its darkest part, descend in the depths of her mind and heart, overcome the obstacles it finds on the way to the light and then face a new journey, a new life, all this while making us travel through time, from ancient Egypt to Middle age. Composed in the 1990s, 'David Del Fabro' therefore materialized his project with the release of 'The Dark Presence', also thanks to talented artists because we find, among others, the singer of 'Temperance' and of 'Visions Of Atlantis', 'Michele Guaitoli', and the producer and keyboardist 'Luca Zanon' who gave David the boost to make this beautiful album.

Composed of 13 tracks quite disparate by their length, 'The Dark Presence' offers us 76 rich and intense minutes with marked influences in the progressive of the 70s starting with the long eponymous development of the album which, by its introduction, offers us a total change of scenery and we find ourselves in an old time with a musical construction in several drawers that we open one after the other to discover all the nooks and crannies. The sung parts are beautiful with very good vocal performances throughout the album of 'Michele Guaitoli'. 'Golgotha' which follows, is almost entirely instrumental and apart from a few female vocals, offers us an epic atmosphere with sounds quite close to 'Therion', then, without transition, 'Let Me Die' is more energetic and catchy with rhythmic alternations and intensity bringing a good progressive dose, the end of the title much calmer highlighting a piano joined by the singing of 'Michele Guaitoli'. The sequel scrolls through 7 shorter tracks but all of which keep a beautiful originality: 'Rain… of Course' offers us a melodic track in a light atmosphere, then, 'Into the Sea (Apocatastasis)' jostles us with its frequent tempo changes and keeps melodic lines accessible which are supported by vintage tones and beautiful final vocal harmonies. As for the short 'Interlude', it is a beautiful acoustic ballad which highlights the delicate singing of 'Beatrice Demori', then, the instrumental 'Tides From a Faraway Shore' continues in a pastoral atmosphere and sends us back to the style of formations like 'Jethro Tull', same atmosphere that we find with the lively 'The Dark Presence Revelation' and 'A new Sunrise', which follows, is more energetic and very catchy with oriental sounds here and there. Then follows the short 'Chapter LXIV', made of sound effects and electronic sounds, which serves as an introduction to the masterpiece of the album 'Possessed by Time' and which takes us on a progressive symphonic saga linking very varied sections that make us travel in a delicious sound maze with a harmonious finale of any beauty. After all this profusion and this musical richness, the short acoustic ballad 'Last hero's Crusade' is a well-deserved break and the album ends with the 8 minutes of 'Book of Coming Forth by Day' which offers us a new progressive sequel to several drawers further highlighting the originality and variety that the Italians offer us.

In summary, the Italians 'Blacksmith Tales' offers us a first album which should mark the year 2021 in progressive music because 'The Dark Presence' shows all the potential of this formation which contains everything that every amateur and amateur desires find in this kind of music : a mixture of different influences and styles, remarkable alternations of more or less energetic atmospheres, all this being embellished by accessible melodic lines...

Line Up / Musicians

David Del Fabro (Piano, Keybords, Duduk, Choirs), Beatrice Demori (Vocal), Michele Guaitoli (Vocal), Stefano Debiaso (Drums), Denis Canciani (Bass), Marco Falanga (Guitar), Luca Zanon (Keybords, Flute)

Artist : Kayak

Album : Out Of This World

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 30-05-2021

After coming back to the forefront in 2018 with 'Seventeen', the Dutch from 'Kayak' took this time only three years to release a new album 'Out Of This World' whose title shows that the health crisis has passed through there and that it did not ultimately have only drawbacks because this last opus of 'Kayak' is a real jewel of music reminiscent of the 70s/80s with a happy mix between progressive and more direct song as if they had wanted to return to a much gentler and more lenient time. Whatever composition you listen to, big names come to mind and I will quote, in bulk, 'Queen', 'Electric Light Orchestra', 'Genesis', 'Alan Parsons Project', 'Jethro Tull', 'Kansas' and so on, all of this being merged to make a dazzling album that is listened to from first to last track with great happiness.

'Out of This World' begins in the best possible way this album in a symphonic register mixing rock and classical with sumptuous instrumental and vocal arrangements that bring us back to the best of the progressive of the 70s, and in the same style we can also quote the wonderful track 'Under a Scar' which is an imaginative and melodic progressive jewel and which, even if the writing is not necessarily comparable, can make think of the atmospheres of 'Queen'. We will also find this flamboyant progressive in the two other flagship compositions of the album, with first of all, 'Critical Mass' which takes us on a new epic saga alternating different soundscapes condensed in 6 minutes, but also with the 9 minutes of 'A Writer's Tale' which unrolls a gripping melody showing different faces throughout the title and which once again brings us back to the atmosphere of 'Queen' in the middle part. Between these different compositions, the Dutch of 'Kayak' offer us more immediate songs but just as endearing and which, for those who have been immersed in the melodic rock of the 70s/80s, must certainly remind famous artists : 'Waiting' is quite characteristic of the light pop of the 70s, the instrumental 'Kaja' reminds me of 'Focus', 'Mystery' mixes the delicacy of the 'Beatles' and the theatricality of 'Queen', 'As the Crow Flies' is enough close to the beautiful ballads of 'Phil Collins' in the early 80s and, as for, 'The Way She Said Goodbye' and 'One By One', this time, it is the ballads of 'Billy Joël' which are not so far. And we continue with 'Traitor's Gate' which flirts with 'Toto', then, 'Distance To Your Heart' sends us back to 'Eldorado' from 'Electric Light Orchestra' dating from 1974 with its characteristic string accompaniments, and the refreshing 'Cary' would not have denoted in an album of the 'Beatles' , 'Ship of Theseus' ending this beautiful opus with a new ballad in an epic symphonic atmosphere darker but releasing a remarkable emotion.

In summary, this latest album from 'Kayak' is a patchwork of influences from the 70s / 80s mixing imaginative progressive rock with varied songs very accessible and 'Out Of This World' should appeal to a large audience because even the more progressive compositions are tamed from the first listening thanks to beautiful melodic lines and remarkable instrumental and vocal arrangements which will certainly make it one of the best albums of the Dutch...

Line Up / Musicians

Ton Scherpenzeel (Keybords, Vocal, Chœurs), Bart Schwertmann (Vocal, Chœurs), Marcel Singor (Guitar, Vocal, Chœurs), Kristoffer Gildenlöw (Bass, Vocal, Chœurs), Hans Eijkenaar (Drums)

Artist : Escape

Album : Fire in the Sky

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 23-06-2021

'Escape' is a British melodic rock formation who are releasing its 3rd album 'Fire in the Sky' after 'Borderline' in 2013. They bring up to date compositions by guitarist' Vince O'Regan 'which take us back decades and recall the major AOR formations of the 80s. So, we navigate through 11 compositions in a four-minute radio format with accessible melody lines that we appropriate from the first listening, all of this being of a remarkable quality of interpretation and production. Note the very beautiful ballad 'Restless Heat' and the long eponymous final title of the album which is cut in two, first a quiet part with a beautiful vocal performance of 'Graham Beales', then a second which rises in much more energetic power. 'In short,' Fire in the Sky 'is a very pleasant album to listen to and to advise a public loving AOR alternating quiet moments and others more energetic...

Line Up / Musicians

Graham Beales (Vocal), Vince O'Regan (Guitar), Bob Pears (Drums), Pete Betts (Bass), Irvin Parratt (Keybords)

Artist : Hunter

Album : Hungry Heart

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 25-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

After 'Revlin Project', we go back to South America (like what!) with the Chileans of 'Hunter' who released an excellent album from AOR and whose leader, 'Ed Carabantes', collaborates with 'Revlin Project'. Spotted by 'Lion's Pride Music' after having produced an eponymous album of the group in 2018, 2021 sees a re-recording of all the titles in English (5 were in Spanish) under the leadership of the Danish record company. The album has been expanded for a total of 12 tracks which make us spend a pleasant time listening to this AOR which smells good the 80s and which can be enjoyed without moderation. From the outset, with the eponymous title of the album, we are conquered by this first heady chorus which gives us an impression of already known, then, in the same style we can quote the catchy melodic hits that are 'Far Away', 'Rise Up' and 'Warmer Love' but the majority of the compositions are in a more moderate tempo with the very good 'Tore Love', 'Love Hunter', 'Snake' and 'Somebody Said (Love Is A Lonely Word)' and when the rhythm is even more measured, the power ballads 'Sad Eyes' and 'Tonight' are to be added to the best AOR ballads. In short, no need to add more, 'Hunter' is still a great 2021 discovery in melodic rock which intends 'Hungry Heart' to all those who love major bands of this style of the 80s...

Line Up / Musicians

Ed Carabantes (Vocal), Leo Correa (Keybords), Claudio Guerrero (Guitar), Juan Carlos Alfaro (Bass), Marcelo Alegria (Drums)

Artist : Touch

Album : Tomorrow Never Comes

Release Date : 30-04-2021

Added : 28-07-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Touch' is an American melodic rock group who released their debut album in 1980 during the heyday of this style (see voir here), then followed another album 'Touch II' in 1982 which was never released in physical media and is now available for streaming. It was not until 2014 that 'Mark Mangold' had the idea to revive 'Touch', which has been materialized in 2020 with as result this new album 'Tomorrow Never Comes' released in April 2021.

12 tracks for an hour of listening, this is the menu of this opus which smells of the melodic rock of the 80s starting with the eponymous title of the album and whose rhythm is very catchy with an effective first refrain which seems to us very familiar. With 'Let It Come', the vocal harmonies plunge us back into another era with delight, then, 'Swan Song', of almost 8 minutes, which is quite rare for this style of music brings a little progressive side to the together with a symphonic atmosphere close to 'Queen', then, what follows continues to offer unstoppable melodies with 'Try to Let Go' and 'Fire and Ice' and their heady choruses, a more classic 'Trippin' Over Shadows' us bringing back to formations like 'Foreigner', 'Frozen Ground', again marrying a light melodic rock with progressive components. No transition for an energetic 'Lil Bit Of Rock' N 'Roll', then 'Glass' shows a more moderate face with beautiful vocal harmonies and 'Scream at the Sky', with its 'Floydienne' introduction, charms us with its sensual atmosphere. Return to a more direct 'Wanna Hear You Say' catchy with backing vocals from another era and the album ends with an energetic 'Run For You Life' with an addictive new melody that never leaves you.

Finally, this last album of 'Touch' is very pleasant to listen to and takes us back to the 70s / 80s with a very original variety mixing different styles, which intends 'Tomorrow Never Comes' to an audience loving major groups from this era ranging from pop to hard rock through progressive rock with very accessible melodic lines...

Line Up / Musicians

Mark Mangold (Keybords, Vocal), Craig Brooks (Guitar Vocal), Doug Howard (Bass, Vocal), Glenn Kithcart (Drums)

Artist : tRKproject

Album : Books That End in Tears

Release Date : 29-04-2021

Added : 24-05-2021

After the remarkable covers of the albums of his project 'tRKproject' (see below the reviews of myprogmusic) in which 'Ryszard Kramarski' offered us, honor to the ladies, a version with the female singer 'Karolina Leszko' and another with the singer 'David Lewandowski', the Pole is releasing in this year 2021 a new album 'Books That End in Tears' still on the same principle with two versions of his favorite performers. This fifth studio album of 'tRKproject' includes four long developments inspired by four strong novels of the XXth century and which were certainly chosen by 'Ryszard Kramarski' for their resonance in the current period that we live with the health crisis and all its political excesses : 'Lord Of The Flies' by 'William Golding', 'The Trial' of 'Franz Kafka', '1984' and 'The Animal Farm' by 'George Orwell'. We're starting to get used to it now, it's up to you to choose the version that suits you the most between 'Karalina Leszko' or 'David Lewandowski', for my part, the two versions of this last opus gave me each very pleasant moments of listening.

'Lord of the Flies' begins the album in a 'Floydian' atmosphere ('Shine On You Crazy Diamond' is not far away) but after a minute a slow tempo develops which pleasantly brings the uncluttered piano/voice sung part with string arrangements accentuating the sweetness of the beautiful melody winding peacefully throughout the first part with the addition here and there of a crystalline acoustic guitar, then, halfway, the electric instruments are more energetic and start a faster section with a nice instrumental part on keyboards which then returns to a slower tempo with a magnificent 'Gilmourian' guitar solo. In the last part, after a section made up of a heavy tribal rhythm section accompanied by a monotonous narration and little cries, the sung finale gradually returns to the sweetness of the starting theme with its heady melody that never leaves us.

With 'The Trial', we are embarked from the start in a catchy tempo with a new melody that we immediately tame, the singing of the two performers being filled with a communicative liveliness, then, the central instrumental part slows down the rhythm bringing a new hovering guitar solo that gives way to a quiet sung part with beautiful choruses before a tormented new instrumental section supported by unbridled drums, the sung finale returning to the vivacity of the first part.

The composition 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' begins with a few marked hits of the drums accompanied by an aerial guitar, then, in the version of 'Karolina Leszko', the singer's rather low register further accentuates the anxiety-provoking lyrics of 'Orwell' with his famous 'Big Brother is watching you', the melodic lines being of any beauty (reminding me of those of 'Hotel California' in a calmer tempo), then, the suite offers us an instrumental 'Floydian' section, then sung, more tormented which end with a break returning for the very moving finale to a much slower tempo with a refined piano/voice duet that leaves room with a last masterful guitar solo and a few sung bars : simply magnificent !

The last long development is devoted to 'Orwell's novel which tells of the takeover of animals on a farm and which starts in a pastoral atmosphere with a light melody. After 4 minutes, the atmosphere takes a quieter turn with some guitar notes and beautiful vocalizations, then, we find the main theme sung interspersed by new melodious guitar solos until the very beautiful refined and uncluttered final guitar/voice.

In summary, it is still a very beautiful album which is offered to us by 'Ryszard Kramarski' with four long developments all as addictive as each other, each bringing its share of emotion and which can be enjoyed quietly with headphones on the ears. 'Books That End in Tears' is recommended for audiences who like a progressive close to 'Pink Floyd' and airy atmospheres with beautiful melodic lines…

List of myprogmusic reviews of tRKproject :
= 2017 - 'Music Inspired By The Little Prince'
= 2019 - 'Mr Scrooge'
= 2019 - 'Kay & Gerda'
= 2020 - 'Sounds from the Past'
= 2021 - 'The Little Prince'

Line Up / Musicians

Ryszard Kramarski (Keybords, Guitar), Marcin Kruczek (Guitar), Grzegorz Fieber (Drums, Percussions), Krzysztof Wyrwa (Bass), Karolina Leszko (Vocal), David Lewandowski (Vocal)

Artist : Galaad

Album : Paradis posthumes

Release Date : 23-04-2021

Added : 20-05-2021

After leaving the progressive scene for 25 years, the Swiss of 'Galaad' had released 'Frat3R' in 2019 and this new start gave them wings since it is only two years after that their last baby 'Paradis posthumes' is born. This new opus, of more than an hour, takes us on a French progressive gem which can only recall the atmospheres of the father of this style, I named 'Ange' with its founder 'Christian Decamps' who have just released a magnificent 'Trianon 2020' celebrating the 50 years of the group. I quote 'Ange' because the Swiss have this talent to offer us musically imaginative and sought-after epic progressive with chiseled texts that highlight all the evils of our world while keeping this faith in Man and 'Paradis posthumes' is another fine example of this Swiss know-how.

The short 'Terra' welcomes us in a bucolic atmosphere which quite quickly turns into a sound surge accompanied by vigorous choirs which prefigures an energetic and flamboyant rock album, then, 'Apocalypse' continues in this communicative energy with a expressive and angry singing and beautiful alternations of intensity and tempo which make it a typical title of a rich and bright progressive. The atmosphere calms down with the following track 'Moments' which takes us in a slow tempo with a chorus that grafts itself straight into our head and whose song of 'PyT' reminds me of that of 'Christian Décamps' and the latter is not far either in 'Le rêve d'unité' with an introduction in crescendo which explodes after about a minute after this chanted sentence: " est-ce bien une catastrophe ? Qu’un katana te découpe en strophes " and which, in 5 minutes, condenses everything that an amateur of progressive desires to find in this style of music. With 'Amor vinces', we are greeted with riffs saturated with heavy metal and is certainly the most impactful track of the album, with 'Pyt' who plays at cat and mouse in remarkable alternations of intensity, then, 'La douleur', after a soft introduction, offers us a powerful mid-tempo on which our head cannot help but beat time with this singing (what am I saying these moans) so expressive. Follows 'L'instinct, l'instant' which reproduces the ever so addictive pattern with a quiet introduction that gradually gains momentum to transform into an energetic track that offers a remarkable piano/voice break in the middle of the track, then, the atmosphere is softer with the first part of 'Ton ennemi' in the form of a lament accompanied by an aerial guitar and which metamorphoses halfway into an electronic section close to 'Jean-Michel Jarre' and which evolves into a folk ritornello with a rhythm that 'Tri Yann' would not have denied. The eponymous title of the album that follows is more direct and conventional with a catchy rhythm that takes us away from the progressive, then, the long development 'Jour sidéral', in three parts, offers a new progressive jewel that we tame listening after listening in a patchwork making a succession of varied soundscapes with a new vocal performance strong in emotion of 'PyT', the album ending in 'Divine', more classical musically but which brings us back again to the atmospheres of 'Christian Décamps' by the singing of 'PyT'.

In summary, the Swiss of 'Galaad' are releasing a magnificent album which, a sign of quality, improves over time and which perpetuates French progressive rock in a beautiful way, as the French of 'Lazuli' and 'Paradis posthumes' should appeal to an entire audience having been brought up on the baby bottle of progressive rock and in groups which put forward the French language,' Ange 'being for me the most worthy representative of the last fifty years, even if' Christian Décamps' declared with his words which are always so enjoyable : " We are the most famous French band ... to have gone unnoticed "...

Line Up / Musicians

Pierre-Yves "PyT" Theurillat (Vocal), Sébastien Froidevaux (Guitar, Choirs), Gianni Giardiello (Keybords), Laurent Petermann (Drums), Gérard Zuber (Bass)

Artist : Reach

Album : The Promise of Life

Release Date : 23-04-2021

Added : 21-05-2021

After two promising 'Reach out to Rock' albums in 2014 and 'The Great Divine' in 2018, the Swedes of 'Reach' release a new album 'The Promise of Life' comprising 10 new compositions always highlighting a communicative energy with heady melodies that come immediately graft into the head, in atmospheres mixing rock and pop.

Right off the bat, after a short introduction close to 'Enio Morricone', we get to the heart of the matter with 'New Frontier' and an addictive first melody that wins you over immediately supported by a catchy rhythm with a tempo approaching of a crazy rockabilly and which has a slower instrumental central part and shifted from the rest which makes it a very varied composition, then, 'The Law', with its tempo which instantly starts the tapping machine, brings magnificent alternations of intensity between the verses and the chorus further increasing this irresistible desire to move to the rhythm of the music. Slight break with 'Young Again' in a mid-tempo which offers a new melody that we want to sing along, and the album continues with a catchy 'Satellite', always so melodic, then, 'Motherland' takes us on a happy swing with jazzy accents and, as to 'The Seventh Seal', the atmosphere is more sensual with a slow tempo unrolling new harmonious melodic lines. The rest of the album is like this debut, with a new melodic gem 'Higher Ground' which reminds me of the strong style of 'Jono', then 'Higher Ground' takes us to a more muffled atmosphere in which the rhythm section bass/drums bring a very particular sensuality and 'The Streets' sends us a direct and energetic rock with a very catchy rhythm, the album ending on the very beautiful ballad 'Promise of a Life' with a last melody that never leaves you.

In summary, the melodic talent of the Swedes of 'Reach' is confirmed again with this third album without real downtime and which offers a good balance between energetic compositions and others quieter and 'The Promise of Life' should appeal to a large audience because all the titles are very accessible thanks to melodic lines that we immediately appropriate...

Line Up / Musicians

Ludvig Turner (Vocal, Guitar), Marcus Johansson (Drums), Soufian Ma´Aoui (Bass)

Artist : Blackbriar

Album : The Cause of Shipwreck

Release Date : 23-04-2021

Added : 18-06-2021

'Blackbriar' is a symphonic metal formation that comes to us from the country which is a major provider of projects of this style since it is Holland, of which, to name only well-known groups, 'Within Temptation' and 'Epica' are originate from it. After 3 promising EPs 'Fractured in Fairytales' in 2017, 'We'd Rather Burn' in 2018 and 'Our Mortal Remains' in 2019, they released their first LP, 'The Cause of Shipwreck' which should quickly make them known to a fairly large audience of symphonic metal because they have all the qualities to succeed into this particular style. First of all, their singer 'Zora Cock' has a very particular and very original vocal register which brings an almost childish sweetness with a perfect mastery and a very expressive song allowing her to adapt in a beautiful way to the atmospheres deployed by the group. Then the melodic lines are all catchy and the compositions between 3 and 5 minutes are direct and tame from the first listening.

'Confess' opens the album with a melody which is reminiscent of their compatriots from 'Within Temptation', the whole being bathed in a theatrical symphonic atmosphere with a heavy orchestration, atmosphere that we find throughout the album and the following track 'Weakness and Lust' which alternates tranquility and energy in a marked tempo is still a perfect illustration of this. The following takes us through a melodic and powerful 'Through the Crevice', the mid-tempo 'The Séance' which is completely in the tradition of 'Within Temptation' and which was the subject of a video here, then, 'You're Haunting Me' is the first ballad break that offers a dark and disturbing theatrical atmosphere but so addicting. The second part of the album continues with an epic 'Walking Over My Grave' alternating in a beautiful way powerful passages with the arrangements provided and others much more refined and of which you can see the video clip above then, 'My Down -to-Earth Lover' takes us back to 'Within Temptation' from the late 90s and 'Selkie', the video of which you can check out here in comic book form, despite the rather dramatic theme of a love story that turns into drama, is much lighter and tinged with folk and brings a nice variety to the whole. With 'Deadly Diminuendo' (see the video here) which deploys a slow and heavy tempo, we are again in a disturbing atmosphere, the theatrical vocals of 'Zora Cock' working perfectly in this more tormented style and the album ends with the mid-tempo 'Lilith Be Gone' which is a perfect summary of this album with a new heady chorus and imposing symphonic arrangements highlighting a sort of quiet strength which, for me, gives me intense listening pleasure.

In summary, by perpetuating a symphonic metal from the beginning of this style with obvious influences from their big brother 'Within Temptation', the Dutch of 'Blackbriar' also bring a particular touch made of intense theatrical atmospheres thanks to orchestrations with multiple twists but also thanks to their female singer who has this talent to bewitch us and carry us away in each composition. Another great discovery for 2021 in symphonic metal and 'The Cause of Shipwreck' should undoubtedly appeal to all lovers of this style...

Line Up / Musicians

Zora Cock (Vocal), Bart Winters (Guitar), Robin Koezen (Guitar), Frank Akkerman (Bass), Ruben Wijga (Keybords), René Boxem (Drums)

Artist : Fleesh

Album : Version II

Release Date : 20-04-2021

Added : 18-05-2021

The Brazilians of 'Fleesh' continue to release revisited covers offering us wonderful listening moments and after 'Versions I' in 2019, 'In The Mist of Time (A Renaissance Tribute)' in 2020, and 'Here It Come Again (A Tribute to Genesis)' early 2021, it's time for 'Version II' to see the light of day. On the program, 'Angra', 'Peter Gabriel', 'Phil Collins', 'Fleetwood Mac', 'Mostly Autumn' or even 'Pink Floyd' with these magnificent reinterpretations of Gabby and Celo which are all filled with intense emotion and which, moreover, bring us back with happiness, not without nostalgia, a few decades back. In short, no need to add any more, this new cover album is tasted with great pleasure from start to finish and I gave the list of tracks as well as the album from which they came, the original artist and the year of release below. Also, last time I put Fleesh's videos, but this time, I put the original versions to you with the Spotify link.

01. Holy Land (Holy Land, Angra, 1996) - Original Title
02. Red Rain (So, Peter Gabriel, 1986) - Original Title
03. I Wish It Would Rain Down (...But Seriously, Phil Collins, 1989) - Original Title
04. Stay on These Roads (Stay on These Roads, A-Ha, 1988) - Original Title
05. It's Only Goodbye (Giant for a Day, Gentle Giants, 1978) - Original Title'
06. New York (Forse le lucciole non si amano più, Locanda Delle Fate, 1977) - Original Title
07. I'm So Afraid (Life Becoming A Landslide, Fleetwood Mac, 1975) - Original Title
08. Meadows of Heaven (Dark Passion Play, Nightwish, 2007) - Original Title
09. Andarilho de Luz (O Andarilho, Flávio Venturini, 1984) - Original Title
10. You Learn About It (Souvenirs, The Gathering, 2003) - Original Title
11. The Space (Seasons End, Marillion, 1989) - Original Title
12. Illusion (IMPERIAL, Soen, 2021) - Original Title
13. Comfortably Numb (The Wall, Pink Floyd, 1979) - Original Title

Line Up / Musicians

Gabby Vessoni (Vocal), Celo Oliveira (All Instruments)

Artist : Liv Kristine

Album : Have Courage Dear Heart

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 12-05-2021

After being ousted from the formation 'Leaves 'Eyes' in 2016, the Norwegian 'Liv Kristine' had not released a solo album but continued to be active with, among other things, participations in other projects with, for example, recording 'Mankind' with 'Glassgod' or the invitation of her sister, singer of 'Middnatsol', on the last album of the gothic metal band 'The Afternath' from 2018 but also created a new project in 2020, 'Coldbound', with a first single 'Slumber of Decay' released in February 2021. Its last solo album is already from 2014 with 'Vervain' and she continued to collaborate with guitarist 'Tommy Olsson' with result, this new EP, 'Have Courage Dear Heart', which contains 5 tracks including 'Skylight', released as a single in 2019 and of which a very nice acoustic version of 'Skylight Cathedral' is present on this record, the other three tracks being the leading 'Serenity' with the expressive vocals of Liv which always brings as much authenticity and freshness, then, the ballad 'Have Courage Dear Heart' in crescendo with a remarkable rhythm section which gradually petit is gaining momentum, and finally, a second ballad, 'Gravity' in which we let ourselves be lulled by the bewitching song of the Norwegian. Note that there is a version (currently not available on Spotify) which adds five live tracks recorded in 2019 to 'Nagold' including 'Schubert' Ave Maria '.

In short, despite a short duration (normal for an EP), 'Have Courage Dear Heart' allows us to wait until the release of a new album by this charismatic singer who is equally at ease in Gothic metal than in quieter atmospheres in which she always exudes real emotion...

Line Up / Musicians

Liv Kristine (Vocal), Tommy Olsson (Guitar)

Artist : Yes

Album : From A Page

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 13-05-2021

'From A Page' by 'Yes' is not a new album because it has been released in October 2019 but it appeared quite late in digital and also contains the reissue of the concert 'In the Present - Live from Lyon' dating from 2011 and which had been given on December 1, 2009 in Lyon at the 'Bourse du Travail'. Regarding the 'From A Page' part, these are five compositions (including two versions of 'To The Moment') that had been written in the late 2000s when the band's line up saw quite a few changes, between the health problems of 'Jon Anderson' replaced by 'Benoît David' and the departure of 'Rick Wakeman' replaced by 'Oliver Wakeman' and these compositions written and composed at that time (all by 'Oliver Wakeman' except 'The Gift of Love' which is a collegiate title) never saw the light of day in a studio recording of 'Yes'.

'To The Moment' begins the mini album with the single version but it is the long version which is the most interesting with more full instrumental parts and which correspond well to the moods of 'Yes' and we are struck by the voice of 'Benoît David' who was really the best replacement for 'Ian Anderson', then, 'Words On A Page' is a magnificent ballad in a stripped down atmosphere that we are not used to hearing in the group's repertoire with a guitar solo highlighting the magnificent feeling of 'Steve Howe'. Follows 'From the Turn of a Card', which appeared on the album 'Ravens & Lullabies' from 'Gordon Giltrap' and 'Oliver Wakeman' and which offers us a sort of ritornello with a heady melody, 'Oliver Wakeman' having rewritten a piano score bringing a certain sweetness and lightness to this beautiful title , then, the masterpiece 'The Gift Of Love' is a long composition that takes us into a progressive maze with endearing melodic lines and very beautiful vocal arrangements.

Regarding the concert, it is already known but takes us back for a moment in one of the prosperous periods of 'Yes' at the end of the 2000s with more than two intense hours, the end of the set list comprising, after the interplanetary hit 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', five long developments that border on an hour on their own.

In summary, more than a new album, this digital version of 'From A Page' will allow those who have not had the chance to listen to the CD or Vinyl version to discover a period of the long history of 'Yes' and which gives us the opportunity to hear again this legendary group which has become an undisputed reference in the progressive rock of the last 50 years, their last live release being the remarkable 'The Royal Affair Tour (Live in Las Vegas) ' in 2020...

Line Up / Musicians

Benoît David (Vocal), Steve Howe (Guitar, Vocal), Chris Squire (Bass, Vocal), Oliver Wakeman (Keybords, Vocal), Alan White (Drums)

Artist : Imelda May

Album : 11 Past The Hour

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 14-05-2021

Irish 'Imelda May' returns with a new album '11 Past The Hour' after 'Life Love Flesh Blood' in 2017 and, despite still being associated with rockabilly artists in spotify like 'LeeRocker' or the 'Stray Cats', after her debut, she took other musical directions and this latest opus still takes us on a magnificent journey between sensuality and energy with 11 varied compositions just as endearing each other.

The title song (see video above) begins this album in a subdued atmosphere with a heady first melody that rocks us to the sound of Imelda's sensual voice, then, 'Breathe' continues in this atmosphere with a beautiful symphonic ballad in a magnificent crescendo, the instruments of the orchestra bringing a certain force. With 'Made To Love' in which guitarist 'Ronnie Wood' was invited (who is still active with the 'Stones') and female activists 'Gina Martin' and Dr 'Shola Mos-Shogbamimu' (see video a href='' target='_blank'>here), the rhythm picks up for a catchy track with a melody that never leaves you, then, 'Different Kinds of Love', after a refined introduction, slowly increases in intensity for end in a kind of happy Gospel, and 'Diamonds' is a new beautiful and refined ballad enveloped by a piano, a light bass and some percussions bringing a very particular sweetness. In the same register, follows 'Don't Let Me Stand on My Own' in which the vocal duo of the Irishwoman and 'Niall McNamee' works wonderfully, then, change of scenery with the energetic 'What We Did in the Dark' in which 'Imelda May' this time sings 'Miles Kane' and 'Can't Say' is another semi-acoustic melodic jewel in which Imelda still rises the emotional cursor and which offers magnificent choirs. We continue in the light with the pop 'Just One Kiss' (see video here) that she share with singer 'Noel Gallagher' and 'Ronnie Wood', album ending, first smoothly, with a new magnificent ballad 'Solace' and finally, the magnificent 'Never Look Back' of great emotional strength, the singer's accompaniment with the strings and the marked rhythm making it one of the flagship titles of this album.

In summary, this new album from 'Imelda May' confirms that she still has this talent to alternate genres between sensuality and energy with this gift to make us travel and transmit beautiful emotions to us, especially on this latter opus, and, '11 Past The Hour' should appeal to a large audience because all the titles have very accessible melodic lines that we immediately appropriate...

Line Up / Musicians

Imelda May (Vocal, Percussions, Piano), Noel Gallagher (Vocal), Niall McNamee (Vocal), Miles Kane (Vocal), Gina Martin (Vocal), Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (Vocal), Ron Wood (Guitar), Davide Rossi (Bass, Keybords, Violin), Leo Abrahams (Guitar), Cam Blackwood (Bass), Cameron Blackwood (Guitar, Keybords), Tim Bran (Guitar, Bass, Keybords), Charlotte Hatherley (Guitar, Bass), Andrew Innes (Guitar), Charlie Jones (Bass), Sam Lewis (Guitar), Alex Thomas (Drums), Tom Visser (Piano)

Artist : Motorpsycho

Album : Kingdom of Oblivion

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 16-05-2021

The Norwegians of 'Motopsycho' who, after 'The All is One' dating from August 2020, release 'Kingdom of Oblivion' which has just seen the light of day in mid-April 2021, and what an album, because it totals 70 minutes of listening with 12 compositions that re-embark on the time machine at a period when the 'Black Sabbath' and 'Led Zeppelin' were at the top of the hard-rock billboards, all of this with sounds of this time but with a modern production.

'The Waning Parts 1 & 2' opens the ball with a typical composition of a powerful hard-rock with saturated riffs from another era and a lively rhythm section with a deep bass line, the second part bringing a haunting psychedelic side always anchored in the seventies, then, 'Kingdom Of Oblivion', with a slower tempo, continues to offer us heavy and captivating riffs and vocals with fairly linear melodic lines. Change of tone with 'Lady May' which is much calmer in an acoustic folk style with an accompaniment of guitar arpeggios, then, 'The United Debased' returns to the heavy vintage style and unrolls a rather dark melody, close to doom, 'The Watcher' which follows, being an instrumental not necessarily essential bringing us back to the psychedelic experiments of the beginning of the progressive. 'Dreamkiller' continues in this dark and vintage atmosphere with the electric instruments which take over after a hovering acoustic introduction, the title falling abruptly and ending as it started. New change of atmosphere with the short instrumental 'Atet' which is a quiet acoustic, then, 'At Empire's End' is for me the masterpiece of the album which puts the most forward the progressive side of the group with changes of intensity that takes us back to the end of the 60s with this mixture of bewitching psychedelics and the beginnings of a more energetic rock that we will later call hard-rock. It's still a complete change of style with 'The Hunt', much lighter acoustics with beautiful vocal harmonies reminiscent of formations like 'Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young' and the short acoustic 'After The Fair' then serves as a interlude for the next long development 'The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker' which, again, offers us a heavy hard-rock filled with psychedelic effects brought by the sounds of saturated guitars and vintage keyboards with a skilful mix between 'Black Sabbath' and the 'Floyds', the last track 'Cormorant' gently bringing us back to reality with a soft and airy instrumental whose melody delicately caresses our eardrums.

In summary, the Norwegians of 'Motorpsycho' continue in this style so characteristic bringing a certain nostalgia of the pioneers of the progressive which destines 'Kingdom of Oblivion' to a public who bathed in this time and which particularly liked groups who have muscled psychedelic rock to become hard rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Bent Sæther (Vocal, Bass, Guitar, Keybords, Drums), Hans Magnus Ryan (Guitar, Vocal, Keybords, Mandolin, Violin, Bass), Tomas Järmyr (Drums, Vocal)

Artist : Confusion Field

Album : Disconnection Complete

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 17-05-2021

If you follow the myprogmusic reviews, you should know that I am particularly attached to progressive bands influenced by 'Pink Floyd' and, in these groups, the Germans from 'RPWL'. And so, it was only natural that when I listened to the Finns first studio recording of 'Confusion Field', I found myself on familiar ground because the resemblance between the Germans and the Finns is striking both melodically and on the level of the singing of 'Tomi Kankainen' which is very close to that of 'Yogi Lang'.

'Sky Is Never The Same' opens the album with a fairly typical 'RPWL' composition, with this characteristic of associating powerful instrumental parts with more restrained sung parts, the rather slow rhythm unrolling a melody which never leaves you, then, 'Close Call' continues in this calm atmosphere which reminds me of the sounds of 'Therion' in the 'Vovin' period (see my playlist of 'Therion' here). With 'Nothing Holds The Storm', the melodic lines catch us on the first listen and the instrumental part offers a very beautiful guitar solo, the atmosphere continuing to release a certain quiet force, then, 'Become Invisible', after a refined introduction, shows a more classic face bringing us back to the rock formations of the 80s/90s while having very nice alternations between powerful parts and others much calmer, and as for, 'Distort Reality' which follows, it makes us come back to this comparison with 'RPWL' which merges an important sound base with a softness in the vocal arrangements, the keyboards also bringing this airy side. Follows 'Anxiety Reflected' in the same vein as its predecessor and in a more disturbing atmosphere with a strong emotional tension throughout the title certainly accentuated by admirable rhythmic alternations and intensity, tension that we find on the next title 'See Through Walls' in which the bass/drums rhythm section is particularly inventive. 'Zen Garden Moment' continues in a particularly intense atmosphere with a monotonous melody giving the impression of accumulating an enormous tension ready to explode at any moment and which finally falls delicately into a refined final, the album ending very beautifully with the longest track, 'Connecting The Dots' which unrolls an addictive and haunting final melody with chord changes accentuated by the rhythm section which again brings us back to that quiet force of 'RPWL'.

In summary, the Finns of 'Confusion Field' offer us an already very mature first album which gets better with listening in a relatively accessible melodic neo-progressive style in the tradition of 'RPWL' which should appeal to a whole public adept of a modern progressive drawing its influences from the 70s/80s with obviously at the top of the list 'Pink-Floyd'...

Line Up / Musicians

Tomi Kankainen (Vocal, Bass, Keybords, Guitars), Petri Honkonen (Drums), Markus Jämsen (Guitar)

Artist : Temple Balls

Album : Pyromide

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 19-06-2021

Line Up / Musicians

Arde Teronen (Vocal), Jimi Välikangas (Bass), Jiri Paavonaho (Guitar), Niko Vuorela (Guitar), Antti Hissa (Drums)

Artist : Robbie Lablanc

Album : Double Trouble

Release Date : 16-04-2021

Added : 21-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

I recently told you about 'Robbie Lablanc' in this melodic rock and hard rock playlist with his participation on the 'Darren Phillips' album'Volume Two' and it is his turn to release a new album 'Double Trouble'. Robbie is known to have participated in several projects, with, among others, 'Blanc Faces', in the 2000s with his brother and with two albums, 'Blanc Faces' in 2005 and 'Falling FromThe Moon'in 2009, and with 'Find Me' in the 2010s with 3 studio recordings, 'Wings of Love' in 2013, 'Dark Angel' in 2015 and 'Angels in Blue' in 2019. Surrounded by well-known artists from the melodic rock scene (including 'Tommy Denander' and 'Steve Overland'), 2021 sees the release under his name of the studio recording 'Double Trouble' in which he offers us 13 compositions that take us back to the 80s between pop, soul, funk and rock with melodies that we immediately appropriate. Everything is done to have a good time listening to this opus which contains melodic jewels in a very soft AOR, the style of light music that we listen to during the summer holidays. In short, this last album of 'Robbie Lablanc', sublimated by a singer who has the voice for this style of music, should be well received by a large audience in love with an elegant and refined AOR...

Line Up / Musicians

Robbie LaBlanc (Vocal, Chœurs) + Guests : Tommy Denander (Guitar, Keybords), Brian Anthony (Bass), Michael Lange (Drums), Steve Overland (Chœurs)

Artist : The Treatment

Album : Waiting for Good Luck

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 10-05-2021

After 'Power Crazy' dating from 2019, the English of 'The Treatment' are back with a new opus 'Waiting for Good Luck' which continues the all traced route of the previous opus with the singer 'Tom Rampton' who makes us relive the time of the 48 minutes of the opus a certain 'Bon Scott' who could have been still here if he had tried rehab in the 80s. The least that we can say, 'The Treatment' does not do the job half but sends us heavy throughout this opus starting with a 'Rat Race' (see video above) with sharp guitar riffs and which could be a clever mix between 'AC/DC' and 'Def Leppard' at the beginning of the 80s. And it continues in the same vein with titles all as effective as each other like 'Take It Or Leave It' with a rythmic to take down yourself the head by dint of headbanging, or 'Lightning In A Bottle', which follows, without being outdone with its heavy rhythm and its formidably efficient riffs, just before a huge Vampress' which makes us still raise the heart rate. No break in the following titles which follow the same pattern with each one as addictive tempos as the others, with the mid-tempo 'Eyes on You' tagged hard-rock/blues or 'No Way Home' that would not be deny by 'Francis Rossi' or by the late 'Rick Parfitt' as well as 'Hold Fire' or even 'Tough Kid' with its introduction making us slowly increase the pressure with happiness to send us very sharp riffs while keeping beautiful alternations of intensity. And you have to reach 10th track to be able to catch your breath with 'Barman' who sweats a good heavy blues/rock from the 70s that will put you in shape for a whole day, the rest of the album offering us two last addictive compositions 'Let's Make Money' with its chorus to resume at the top of our voice and 'Wrong Way' (see video here), less dynamic but still as melodic, the last track being an acoustic cover of 'Barman' with a wonderful bastringue piano.

In short, no need for long speeches, this last album of the English of 'The Treatment' is a condensed of pure energy to be consumed without moderation and if you like the very famous formations of the 70s/80s of from 'AC/DC' to 'Def Leppard' passing by 'Status Quo', 'Aerosmith' or even 'Scorpions', go ahead and listen to 'Waiting for Good Luck'...

Line Up / Musicians

Tom Rampton (Vocal), Tao Grey (Guitar, Bass), Tagore Grey (Guitar), Andy Milburn (Bass), Dhani Mansworth (Drums)

Artist : Cheap Trick

Album : In Another World

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 07-05-2021

The French adage "the best soups are made in old pots" is well suited to the Americans of 'Cheap Trick' because apart from the little 40 year old 'Daxx Nielsen' on drums who replaced 'Bun E. Carlos' in 2010, the other three members total, at the time of writing this column, exactly 210 years old and continue to release albums. After 'Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello ' in 2016, ' We're all Alright! ' and 'Christmas Christmas' in 2017, it is with a slight delay completely independent of their will, health crisis obliges, that our confined evenings come to cheer up this last offering 'In Another World' after a first single released already 3 years ago ('The Summer Looks Good On You'). And with each release, year after year (this opus is the twentieth), we tell ourselves that they will perhaps calm down their ardors but, nay, it's still an album full of good energy that they have been transmitting to us since now more than 40 years with melodies which immediately take us away and which are grafted directly into our head. Certainly, some compositions are more relaxed than at the beginning but all as addictive with blues/rock mid-tempos which automatically start the machine to tapping the foot like 'Another World' or 'Final Days' or 'Passing Through' or still 'Gimme Some Truth' (cover of 'John Lennon') and they also offer us beautiful ballads with 'So It Goes' or 'I'll See You Again' but, as regards the more energetic tracks, if you are not sensitive to the catchy 'The Summer Looks Good On You', the 'Beatlesian' 'Quit Waking Me Up', 'Boys & Girls & Rock N Rol' close to the 'Stones', the heady 'The Party' (and yes the party is never over with them) or the catchy 'Light Up The Fire' or the muscular cover of 'Another World', then, you can go your way, and for the others, for short , I will simply say : have fun !! by consuming this latest offering from the Americans without any moderation, because at this moment we really need a little lightness and good humor...

Line Up / Musicians

Robin Zander (Vocal, Guitar), Rick Nielsen (Guitar, Choirs), Tom Petersson (Bass), Daxx Nielsen (Drums)

Artist : FM

Album : Tough It Out Live

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 08-05-2021

After a very good 'Synchronized' in 2020, the English of 'FM' return to the front of melodic hard-rock with a live released at the beginning of April 2021 which is close to two hours and which was recorded before the period of musical fast that our dear governments have inflicted on us . 'Tough It Out Live' of course refers to the album of the same name, whose 30th anniversary this concert celebrates with a full cover of the original version from 1989 in the first CD. For anyone who remembers this period, the English 'Def Leppard' had already released their 4th album and their compatriots from 'FM' were starting their careers and have been really known with the release of 'Tough It Out' which is now considered as a reference melodic hard-rock album from this prosperous period of this style and we therefore embark on the time machine with all these titles which have become timeless and which are always very pleasant to listen to. And to continue our journey, they offer us a second half of concert with a sample of more or less known compositions but which all have this point in common, to have a good time listening to these addictive melodies that we are Appropriate immediately and whose refrains titillate our neurons and put a smile on our lips and this, whether the style is energetic or quieter because the English also have this talent for calmer moments close to AOR music. In short, no need to add more, this last opus of 'FM' is a remarkable concert to be consumed without moderation and an essential live for any lover or any lover of good melodic hard-rock of the 80s...

Line Up / Musicians

Steve Overland (Vocal), Jem Davis (Keybords), Jim Kirkpatrick (Guitar), Merv Goldsworthy (Bass), Pete Jupp (Drums)

Artist : Nad Sylvan

Album : Spiritus Mundi

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 09-05-2021

After 'The Bride Said No' from 2017 and 'The Regal Bastard' in 2019 which did not leave me an unforgettable memory (I might have to reinject me a small dose !), 'Nad Sylvan' took part in the magnificent live of 'Steve Hackett', 'Selling England by The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith' and 2021 sees the release of a new opus from the Swede, 'Spiritus Mundi' which for me is a very endearing album in this particular style which brings us to the progressive of the 70s and whose title 'Spiritus Mundi' is a " Latin term that literally means, 'world spirit'. In Spiritus Mundi, there is, according to 'William Butler Yeats', 'a universal memory' and a 'muse' of sorts that provides inspiration to the poet or writer. To Yeats, 'Spiritus Mundi' is the source of all 'images' and 'symbols', a 'collective unconscious'. " (retrieved from here).

'The Second Coming' welcomes us with a voice recounting the words of Yeats in a symphonic section which after a 1.30 gives way to an acoustic guitar/voice quiet part to which then join the drums and the bass with two luxury guests, the two members of 'The Flower Kings', 'Jonas Reingold' and 'Mirkko Demaio', reminding me, even if the voice of 'Nad Sylvan' is quite far from that of 'Ian Anderson', the moods of 'Jethro Tull', then, 'Sailing to Byzantium' is a magnificent progressive crescendo in which we are literally carried away to fall back into a peaceful end. Follows 'Cap and Bells' with an addictive melody that delicately caresses you, always in a very calm atmosphere and conducive to escape, the singing of 'Nad Sylvan' actively participating in this sweet sensation and the short 'The Realists' continues in this way with an acoustic title in which the dry guitar brings this delicate side before the very beautiful 'The Stolen Child' (see video here) with a catchy rhythm that takes us back to the 70s and to the 'Genesis' albums. We continue with an even more refined title, the guitar/voice acoustic ballad 'To An Isle In The Water' embellished by some choirs and keyboard notes in which reverie is at its peak, then, 'The Hawk' (see video here), although still very calm, is more catchy and gives us a final with a melody which never leaves you and which gives an irresistible desire to accompany the choirs. After the short, uncluttered acoustic interlude 'The Witch and The Mermaid', 'The Fisherman' (see video above) slowly deploys an addictive melody in a catchy rhythm which makes it one of my favorites of the album with beautiful vocal sections shared between 'Nad Sylvan' and 'Andrew Laitres', an instrumental part in the middle of the title with a magnificent guitar solo and which ends the edition without the bonuses, because the Spotify version adds both bonuses, first of all 'You've Got To Find A Way' which continues in the previous mood of 'The Fisherman' and finally 'To A Child Dancing In The Wind' which ends this beautiful album with delicious acoustics by highlighting a last time the vocal duo Sylvan/Laitres accompanied by the guitar of 'Steve Hackett' and which has a hidden part after 5 37 minutes with a new acoustic guitar/voice duo.

In summary, this latest album from 'Nad Sylvan' is a very good surprise 2021 which takes us on a magnificent poetic, delicate and melodious journey, a style which perfectly matches the personality that the Swede exudes, and which should appeal to an audience loving calm atmospheres in progressive style that we savor quietly with headphones on ears...

Line Up / Musicians

Nad Sylvan (Vocal), Andrew Laitres (Vocal), Kiwi Te Kanna (Hautbois, Flute), Steve Piggot (Guitar) + Guests : Steve Hackett (Guitar), Jonas Reingold (Bass), Tony Levin (Bass), Mirkko Demaio (Drums)

Artist : The End Machine

Album : Phase 2

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 11-05-2021

'The End Machine' is a great group formed initially of three members of the heavy metal group of the 80s 'Dokken', guitarist 'George Lych' who then reformed 'Lynch Mob' in the 90s, bassist 'Jeff Pilson' and drummer 'Mick Brown' who was also in the 'Lynch Mob' adventure and the lineup is completed by 'Robert Mason' on vocals who was also part of 'Lynch Mob'. After a first album in 2019 ('The End Machine'), Mick leaves his place on drums to his brother Steve and 2021 sees the release of a new album 'Phase 2'. This new opus contains 12 compositions which obviously bring us back to the 70s/80s and 'Dokken' in a hard-rock style that one could qualify as classic and with accessible melodic lines.

Everything is therefore done to have a great time and after the short appetizer 'Rising' in which 'George Lynch' shows that he has not lost any of his superb, 'Blood and Money' (see video above) tumbles and sends us back to the best hard-rock of the 80s with a fast rhythm and a chorus filled with choirs that we want to accompany, the guitar solo of Mr 'George Lynch' being a pure moment of happiness, then 'We Walk Alone', in a more relaxed atmosphere, offers us a heavy mid-tempo that we hammer in time with our foot and our head before the melodic 'Dark Divide' (see video < a href='' target= '_blank'>here), less energetic and reminding me of some calmer titles from 'Deep Purple' in the 70s. The album continues with three compositions 'Crack The Sky' (see video here), 'Prison or Paradise' and 'Plastic Heroes' which have that right balance between hard-rock and rock and which all have melodies that immediately graft themselves into the head, then, 'Scars' is a blues/rock ballad , certainly classic but very enjoyable and, then, it is off again for a vigorous 'Shine Your Light' with changes of tempo which put forward a very effective rythmic section of 'Steve Brown', the album ending with, first of all , two mid-tempos, 'Devil's Playground' with a remarkable bass line conducive to the headbang and 'Born Of Fire' with a heady chorus that 'Robert Mason' sings admirably and finally with the enticing 'Destiny' with the marked rhythm which sums up that catchy melodic hard-rock style of the entire album nicely.

In summary, the Americans of 'The End Machine' are releasing a second quality album that takes us back to the golden age of hard rock of the 70s/80s and which, thanks to talented artists, offers us a pleasant moment of listening with varied compositions offering melodic lines accessible to the first listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Robert Mason (Vocal, Choirs), George Lynch (Guitar), Jeff Pilson (Bass, Keybords, Choirs), Steve Brown (Drums, Choirs)

Artist : Infinite & Divine

Album : Silver Lining

Release Date : 09-04-2021

Added : 17-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

And it is again in Sweden that we are heading with this new association between the multi-instrumentalist and composer 'Jan Åkesson' (' Stonelake' and 'Jan Akesson's Shadow Rain') and female singer 'Tezzi Persson', the line-up being completed by 'Stonelake' drummer, 'Jens Westberg'. As much in symphonic metal, we are used to having frontwomen's, as much in melodic hard-rock, it is quite rare to hear women and, it is clear, that this new project 'Infinite & Divine' has everything to work with a rock and melodic hard-rock audience because 'Tezzi Persson' shows remarkable vocal qualities with a powerful and melodious vocals which works perfectly with the compositions of 'Jan Åkesson' and which has nothing to envy to the best hard-rock and metal singers. On the menu of this first studio recording 'Silver Lining', They offer us 11 direct and effective tracks between 3 and 4 minutes with melodies that easily enter your head. The opus is particularly focused on energetic and catchy rhythmic sections with subtle variations of intensity and heady choruses as for example in 'I Feel Alive', 'Wasteland', 'Burn No More' or even 'Keep On Moving' and 'Off the End of the World' whose latters can even make think of the melodic lines of 'Bonie Tyler' in the 80s with a more muscular accompaniment. In short, this new 'Infinite & Divine' project is still a good surprise 2021 in the field of melodic hard-rock and 'Silver Lining' should appeal to all fans of this style...

Line Up / Musicians

Tezzi Persson (Vocal), Jan Åkesson (Guitar, Bass, Keybords), Jens Westberg (Drums)

Artist : Avaland

Album : Theater Of Sorcery

Release Date : 02-04-2021

Added : 06-05-2021

In the field of metal operas, we know the great productions of 'Ayreon' from 'Arjen Anthony Lucassen', of 'Therion' from 'Christofer Johnsson' or these of 'Avantasia' from 'Tobias Sammet' or still of French 'Julien Tournoud' with the project 'Amon Sethis'. And now, we will also have to reckon with the new French project of keyboardist and singer 'Adrien G. Gzagg' (who is also one of Amon Sethis' keyboardist), named 'Avaland' and which arrived on our decks at the beginning of April 2021. 'Adrien G. Gzagg' is from Grenoble just like 'Julien Tournaud' and it is certainly no coincidence that this first album 'Theater Of Sorcery' is born. And to do this, he put on a marvellous spread to offer us a very high quality metal opera with all the ingredients that we want to find in this kind of production, starting with an impressive cast of singers with among others 'Zaher Zorgati' from 'Myrath', 'Zak Stevens' from 'Savatage' and 'Circle II Circle' or the female singer 'Madie' 'Nightmare' but also the guitarist 'Stéphan Forté' from 'Adagio'.

From the eponymous title of the album (see video above), we are taken into an energetic melodic power metal composition which is similar to the 'Avantasia' project with magnificent vocal arrangements, 'Emmanuelson' by a href='' target='_blank'>'Rising Steel' giving us a remarkable performance and with a rich orchestration, keyboards taking a good place to tie everything together and the short guitar solo at the end of the title whetting us appetite for the rest. With 'Gypsum Flower' we hold the longest title and for me the masterpiece of the album with, a succession of very varied sections alternating intensities and tempos bringing a progressive side, a chorus that is grafted forever in your head and a trio of singers well chosen by their vocal palette quite different from each other, then, 'Let The Wind Blow', more classic in the approach remains nonetheless melodic and offers us the first performance of a singer, the Frenchwoman 'Heli Andrea' of the project 'Mobius' and as to 'Storyteller', which follows, it's heavy stuff with an unleashed rhythmic and with the vocal duo formed by 'Adrien G. Gzagg' and 'Zak Stevens' which works perfectly. What follows continues in an epic and symphonic style with the catchy 'Escape to Paradise' which has a heady refrain that we can already see singing by a whole audience, an energetic 'Holy Kingdom of Fools' whose chorus no has nothing to envy to its predecessor, then, 'Never Let Me Walk Alone' takes us back a few decades with melodic hard-rock which highlights the duo 'Madie'/'Adrien G. Gzagg' and 'Deja-Vu', more linear melodically, nevertheless remains very catchy thanks to its catchy rhythm. It is with 'I'll Be Ready for Your Love' that we hold the ballad and, what a ballad (added directly in my playlist of 'rock/hard-rock/metal ballads') in which 'Heli Andrea' offers us a very nice vocal performance in the second part joined by 'Adrien G . Gzagg', then 'War Of Minds', less direct than the other titles and more in the vein of an 'Arjen Lucassen' with a progressive side, highlights the remarkable vocal duo 'Madie'/'Zaher Zorgati', the album ending in apotheosis with an epic 'Rise From The Ashes' (see video here) in which the majority of singers are gathered like any metal opera worthy of the name. By the way, I did not tell you about the theme of the album which is the the story of a young sorcerer who could bring the light back in the kingdom of Avaland, and he have to learn to control his powers, powers linked to the Storm.

In summary, we can now say that French power metal is doing very well in 2021 and this latest album by 'Adrien G. Gzagg' is further proof of this with a completely admirable metal opera which should please all lovers of melodic power metal inspired by the projects mentioned above...

Line Up / Musicians

Adrien G. Gzagg (Vocal, Keybords, Orchestrations), Christophe Feutrier (Guitar, Chœurs), Lucas Martinez (Guitar), Camille Souffron (Bass, Cantabass), Léo Mouchonay (Drums, Chœurs) + Guests : Emmanuelson (Vocal, chœurs), Ralph Scheepers (Vocal), Zaher Zorgati (Vocal), Heli Andrea (Vocal, Chœurs), Jeff Kanji (Vocal, Chœurs), Zak Stevens (Vocal), Madie (Vocal), Ricky Marx (Guitar), Stephan Forté (Guitar), Ayman Mokdad (Guitar), Virgile (Guitar), Yves Campion (Chœurs), Cara (Chœurs)

Artist : 2021 : Concerts sortis dans le deuxième trimestre 2021

Album : 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

Release Date : 01-04-2021

Added : 03-08-2021

Artist : Chris Antblad

Album : Age Of Concord IV

Release Date : 31-03-2021

Added : 05-05-2021

We can no longer follow the album releases of 'Chris Antblad' because the last album reviewed on myprogmusic was the third chapter of 'Age Of Concord' and this not even a year ago but, in the meantime, the Swedish has also released two more albums in 2020, first 'Age Of Concord - Quarantine' in August 2020 which was a fully instrumental album with sweet and melancholic compositions to listen to in a quiet place to relax then, 'Age Of Concord – America' in November 2020 which offered us magnificent melodies in the style we knew in 'Age Of Concord III' with endearing titles which gives this impression of having always been a part of our life and that we immediately appropriate. So, just 5 months later, Chris releases another new baby which is the fourth chapter of 'Age Of Concord' and which contains seven singles that the Swede has released since the end of 2020 but also original compositions.

With this new opus, we find these tailor-made melodies to make us spend a very pleasant moment between pop, blues, rock, and country in the great tradition of artists of the 80s and this from the first title 'I Just Need to Know' with a first heady chorus that immediately grafts itself into our heads. So we embark on a new peaceful musical journey where "all is order and beauty, Luxury, calm and pleasure" in which we completely abandon ourselves whether on catchy tracks like 'Breaking Away from the Herd' or 'The White Man's Overbite' or 'Mr Primeminister' or 'Love Was Never Lost Along The Way' or even 'Summer Has Finally Come' with a few more intense guitar riffs, but also more relaxed atmospheres with for example 'A Summer That Won't End' or 'Everyone Knows' or 'The Days' or even 'Song For My M'. By the way, I did not tell you, other singles are also available which are not in this last opus with 'Faded Pictures', 'The Teremana Song', I'm Not Afraid to Come Closer' and 'Not Today'.

In short, it is still a very beautiful album that 'Chris Antblad' offers us with this talent to offer us compositions all as endearing as each other and with this ability to chain close releases and, you who love beautiful melodies mixing pop, rock, blues or country, I advise you to listen to these last albums and there is a good chance that you will become a fan of this Swede who does not seek notoriety by self-producing these albums and who, for my share, makes me spend very pleasant moments of listening to each release of album...

Line Up / Musicians

Chris Antblad (Vocal, Tous les instruments)

Artist : Revlin Project

Album : Trascender

Release Date : 29-03-2021

Added : 15-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

This time we are leaving quite far from the Scandinavian countries since our destination is South America which is not necessarily famous for a large reservoir of melodic rock formations. And yet, this young group 'Revlin Project' has all the assets to make itself known because, created in 2015 by 'Nilver Perez' and made up of artists from Colombia and Spain, they released a first album in 2017 under the name of their leader (see here) and make themselves known their country until the signing with the Danish label 'Lions Pride Music' which leads to this first album 'Trascender'. Musically, we are immersed for 45 minutes in an AOR of the 80s with melodies all as melodic as each other and they have nothing to envy to the best formations of the genre and the comparisons with 'Autumn's Child', 'W.E.T.', 'Eclipse' or even 'Palace' to name only groups that have released an album recently, are fully justified. Everything is done to have a good time with, first of all, catchy compositions like 'World Within', 'Live Again', 'Face to Face' or even 'Keep Holding On' but they also have talent for quieter atmospheres with for example the remarkable 'Take Me to You' and 'So Alive' without forgetting the beautiful ballad 'Til the End' placed at the end of the album.

In short, needless to add, this first album of 'Revlin Project' is a pure delight of AOR which should turn in loop for a lot of amateurs of melodic rock bringing us back to the best of 80 years...

Line Up / Musicians

Renato Costa (Vocal), Nilver Pérez (Keybords), Alain Ascarza (Guitar), Pepe Irei (Guitar), Brian Henriquez (Bass), Gabriel Seri (Drums), Ziko Franco (Vocal)

Artist : Imperia

Album : The Last Horizon

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 28-04-2021

We left 'Helena Iren Michaelsen' with her two solo albums released in 2020 (see myprogmusic review here) and 2021 sees the release of a new 'Imperia' studio recording, after the very good 'Flames of Eternity' in 2019. And for this last opus, the formation released a double album with 14 compositions for one hour and twelve minutes with a change of line up since with the two pillars of the group, the guitarist 'Jan Yrlund' and the singer 'Helena Iren Michaelsen', the drummer 'Steve Wolz' has been replaced by 'Merijn Mol' who has often performed with 'Jan Yrlund' in past projects, 'Gerry Verstreken' still being the bass player.

And from the first compositions of the first CD, we tell ourselves that this last baby of 'Imperia' starts in the best possible way with the melodic hit 'Dream Away' which brings us back to the best symphonic metal formations, Helena doing a first vocal performance noticed with its high-pitched vocalizations, then 'Starlight' (see video here) continues in a symphonic-folk atmosphere with a heady new melody that can recall the folk side of the Swiss of 'Eluveitie' then, the addictive mid-tempo 'To Valhalla I Ride' takes us on the side of ' Imperial Age ' with the lyrical song of Helena close to the two Russian female singers. A new hit 'Flower and the Sea' follows which delivers catchy melodic lines with an irresistible desire to jump to the rhythm of the chorus, then 'Blindfolded' continues in this radiant atmosphere with rhythmic alternations and power bringing a slight progressive side and 'While I Am Still Here' which follows (see video above), softens the point by offering us a magnificent power ballad in the tradition of 'Invisible Tears', 'Spirit Chase' or still 'Broken Wings'. The second CD offers us equally endearing compositions with the catchy 'Only a Dream' dotted with some growls as 'Alexander Krull' can do with 'Leaves' Eyes', the ballad 'Where Are You Now' which is similar to melodic compositions sung in solo by Helena, the only difference being the contribution of the power of electric instruments in the refrain, then, 'I Still Remember' is another ballad this time much more in the style of 'Imperia', powerful and melancholy and the title 'Dancing', which follows, brings, as its name suggests, a festive side with a marked rhythm that makes you want to dance to the rhythm of music and with Far Eastern sounds. It is again with a magnificent ballad, 'My Other Half', that Helena charms us with her lyrical voice in a theatrical and symphonic style, the melodic lines approaching classical opera, then, 'One Day' brings us back to catchy symphonic metal with a catchy mid-tempo and the album ends smoothly with, first of all, a melancholic semi-acoustic 'I Send You My Love' quite removed from the symphonic metal and then the magnificent cover acoustic piano/voice from 'Let Down' from the album 'Secret Passion' from 2011.

In summary, 'Imperia' offers us a sumptuous album with a good balance between catchy compositions and ballads (the second part of the album containing five) and with a singer at the top of her art who continues to enchant us in all styles; 'The Last Horizon' shows that the formation led by guitarist 'Jan Yrlund' certainly delivers one of the most successful albums of his career which should appeal to all those who love a varied and accessible symphonic metal and, for my part, I hope that they will have the opportunity in the coming months to be able to present it in public...

Line Up / Musicians

Helena Iren Michaelsen (Vocal), Jan Yrlund (Guitar), Gerry Verstreken (Bass), Merijn Mol (Drums)

Artist : Evanescence

Album : The Bitter Truth

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 29-04-2021

It's been ten years since Amy Lee 'had released a new studio recording, the last album 'Evanescence' dating from 2011. In the meantime, the Americans had offered us three albums, first of all the B sides of the singles 'Lost Whispers' in 2016, then orchestral covers of their various albums 'Synthesis' in 2017 and finally the live 'Synthesis Live'in 2018. Although they have built their worldwide reputation with 'Fallen' released in 2003 which included the two hits that went interplanetary with 'Bring Me To Life' and 'My Immortal', 'The Bitter Truth' is only the band's fourth album in 25 years and fans have therefore been waiting for this offering for quite a while years and we can say that with 'The Bitter Truth' they will certainly not be disappointed.

We therefore find this mix between rock and symphonic metal very accessible with melodies that we appropriate from the first listening and with electro contributions, everything being calibrated for radio passages, the compositions going straight to the point and not exceeding four minutes. Starting with the two titles 'Artifact / The Turn' and 'Broken Pieces Shine' which are one, the atmospheric introduction of the first leading to a typical song of the group, with a rhythm section that leads the danse, guitar riffs bringing the power and singing of 'Amy Lee' always so powerful and recognizable from the first bars. The whole is therefore divided between catchy hits that catch us from the first listen like 'The Game Is Over' (see video here), 'Feeding The Dark', 'Better Without You' (see video here) or 'Part of Me' quite close to what we knew from Evanescence but also more original compositions with the intoxicating 'Yeah Right' flirting with pop or even 'Take Cover' which highlights a section varied and more sought after rhythm. And when Amy's piano tickles us delicately and the atmosphere is more subdued, Americans also have this gift for remarkable mid-tempos and this latest album offers us two, 'Wasted On You' (see video here) and 'Blind Belief' without forgetting the refined ballad of the album 'Far From Heaven', in which 'Amy Lee' has this talent to move us, and which has nothing to envy to 'My Immortal'. Also note that 'Use My Voice' (video above) is a hymn so that everyone can give their opinion for more justice in the world and saw the participation of a group of female singers with among others, the two sisters from Amy, 'Carrie South' and 'Lori Lee Bulloch' and singer 'Sharon Den Adel' from 'Within Temptation'.

In summary, the Americans of 'Evanescence' return to the front of the stage with a very good album filled with effective and accessible compositions which destines' The Bitter Truth' to the general public which navigates between rock and melodic metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Amy Lee (Vocal, Keybords, Harp, Piano), Jen Majura (Guitar), Tim Mccord (Bass), Troy Mclawhorn (Guitar), Will Hunt (Drums) + Guests : Amy Mclawhorn (Vocal), Carrie South (Vocal), Deena Jakoub (Vocal), Lori Lee Bulloch (Vocal), Lzzy Hale (Vocal), Sharon Den Adel (Vocal), Taylor Momsen (Vocal), Lindsey Stirling (Violin)

Artist : A.C.T

Album : Heatwave

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 30-04-2021

After compilation 'Trifles And Pandemonium' released in 2016 and the very good EP 'Rebirth' in 2019, the Swedes of 'A.C.T' have decided to continue releasing small formats with a new EP called 'Heatwave' containing 6 tracks for 27 minutes of listening.

We thus find this progressive style always very festive with accessible melodic lines and, after a short introduction made of sound effects of insects and birds, 'Checked Out' takes us into this playful style of the Swedes with a first title which mixes pleasantly funky atmosphere with unbridled instrumental sections and with rhythmic changes bringing this good dose of progressive, then, the cheerful 'Brother' continues in this warm and joyful atmosphere with beautiful alternations between catchy parts and others calmer. 'Dark Clouds' is the ballad break which offers us fairly classic melancholic melodic lines and which, even if it appears as the most conventional title of the album, is very pleasant to listen to because it is filled with a beautiful emotion, then, with the eponymous title of the album, we come back to authentic 'ACT' with a playful composition and with beautiful vocal harmonies that can recall certain atmospheres of 'Queen' and 'The Breakup' ends the EP with a beautiful progressive saga of almost 8 minutes, alternating different intensities and rhythms and which offers a remarkable symphonic and intense final runaway.

In summary, 'ACT' releases a very pleasant EP to listen to and which could be added to the last EP to form a complete album because it is in the logical continuation of 'Rebirth' and if you do not know this formation yet and that you like a progressive rock emphasizing the melodic and festive side, you should be conquered by the last two EP of the Swedes...

Line Up / Musicians

Herman Saming (Vocal), Jerry Sahlin (Vocal, Keybords, Vocoder), Ola Andersson (Vocal, Guitar), Peter Asp (Bass, Keybords), Thomas Lejon (Drums)

Artist : Cosmograf

Album : Rattrapante

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 01-05-2021

The frequency of releases of albums of 'Robin Amstrong' with his project 'Cosmograf' does not weaken and after the magnificent 'Mind over Depth' in 2019, here is his new baby 'Rattrapante' and for this time he was inspired by the functionality on some watches from luxury, the 'rattrapante' (in French) which is a other second hand in addition to the primary second hand for calculating intermediate times or timing two events in parallel of short duration. Therefore, the theme of the album revolves around time and I quote Robin : " ‘Rattrapante’ is Cosmograf’s eighth album and is a collection of 5 songs about our interaction with time; we measure it, but yet waste it more, it defines our existence and forms our memories. Some seek to beat it by being the first or the fastest and some can appear to outlive time itself through their achievements…". Musically, you who liked the previous English opus, you will not be disoriented by 'Rattrapante' because it contains all the ingredients of these previous albums with long progressive developments since it offers us 5 compositions for 50 minutes of listening .

It is in a 'Floydian' atmosphere that the first track welcomes us with an atmospheric introduction which suddenly explodes after two minutes and a cry which asks you: "Are you ready ?" which recalls the atmospheres of 'The Wall' and which continues in an energetic section with the powerful singing of Robin which occupies all the space and which gives this remarkable impression of urgency, then here and there, the instrumental interventions mix of a remarkable way of Western and Eastern sounds, the whole recounting the significant events of 1985 which ends with an alarming observation: "Live Aid has disappeared but famine is raging, it is raging ... and Bowie and Freddie are gone " : a strong composition in every sense of the word ! The eponymous title of the album is more classic but just as pleasant to listen to with a catchy rhythm, heady melodic lines and magnificent solos, first of all of guitar in which all the notes stand out very clearly and of keyboards with sounds taking us back to the 70s / 80s and which offers in the second part a more progressive atmosphere with a spoken part with sound effects then again in a quieter tempo a new guitar solo with 'Floydian' backing vocals to return to the ending with the starting theme. With 'I Stick to You' (see video above), 'Chrissy Mostyn' ('The Blackheart Orchestra') who has been invited for the occasion, brings a feminine touch filled with emotion in this title which gives off a sweet melancholy in a captivating atmosphere, then, 'Memories Lie' is a magnificent ballad in which you let yourself be completely carried away and which is in the great tradition of formations that I particularly like 'RPWL' or 'Mystery' or even 'Millenium'. And since all good things come to an end, 'Time Will Flow' remarkably closes the album with a long development that takes us on a journey through a progressive labyrinth that in turn highlights imaginative instrumental parts, of the narration performed by the Scottish 'Tommy McNally' which fits perfectly into the music and very expressive sung sections of Robin, the whole savoring itself like good wine that is slowly sipped to better appreciate each sip.

In summary, 'Robin Armstrong' continues to enchant us release after release and 'Rattrapante' is another perfect illustration of this which will undoubtedly make it one of the best 2021 releases in the field of progressive and which makes that this latter baby of the English should certainly join the ideal discotheque among many lovers of progressive rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Robin Armstrong (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords, Bass), Chrissy Mostyn (Vocal), Kyle Fenton (Drums, Chœurs), Tommy McNally (Voix)

Artist : Metalite

Album : A Virtual World

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 02-05-2021

The Swedes of 'Metalite' are back with a new album 'A Virtual World', after 'Heroes In Time' in 2017 and 'Biomechanicals' in 2019. No surprise for this new opus, we find an electro power metal with addictive melodies that we have the impression that they have always been part of our life and each title could be the subject of a single. We are therefore embarked on energetic compositions in which the rhythm section is unleashed and this from the first tracks with the eponymous title of the album which sends us a first heady chorus followed by an impetuous 'Cloud Connected' and 'Talisman' which continues to titillate our eardrums with a new refrain which will never let you go. And in some compositions the Swedes have this talent of mixing electro pop with metal like in 'Beyond The Horizon' which, given the melodic lines, could be a metal version of what their compatriots 'ABBA' have could do in a much quieter style, with compositions like 'The Vampire Song', 'Artificial Intelligence', 'Alone' or even 'Synchronized'.

In short, this new Swedish album of 'Metalite' is a continuation of the previous opus and, even if the compositions are generally formatted in the same mold, we spend a pleasant time listening to these melodies that we assimilate at the first listen and which offer this original mix between electro pop and power metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Erica Ohlsson (Vocal), Edwin Premberg (Guitar), Robert Örnesved (Guitar), Robert Majd (Bass), Lea Larsson (Drums)

Artist : Gaëlle Buswel

Album : Your Journey

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 03-05-2021

'Gaëlle Buswel' is a French singer and guitarist who made a name for himself almost ten years ago with his first album 'Yesterday's Shadow' which was acoustic and since then, two albums have been released with 'Black to Blue' in 2014 in which the electric guitar made its appearance and 'New Day's Waiting' in 2017. In addition, Gaëlle assumed the first parts of international groups as diverse as 'Status Quo' ou 'Beth Hart' or even of 'Ringo Star' and collected a lot of reward including that of finalist at the European Blues Union' in Denmark in 2017. 2021 sees the release of her new baby with her formation made up of talented musicians and which shows that the Frenchwoman is at the top of her form with this new opus filled with remarkable compositions certainly even more rock than in the past but without also forgetting that " all the music comes from the blues " and whichmakes 'Your Journey', as its name suggests, a beautiful journey between blues and rock. So we embark on 11 compositions all as effective as each other starting with direct and energetic rock and this from the start with the eponymous title of the album with a powerful and catchy rhythm and choirs that give a crazy desire to accompany them, 'Last Day' not being outdone with its swaying tempo and heady chorus, just like the title that follows 'All You Gotta Do' and its guitar riffs starting automatically the feet tapping machine accompanying a high-level vocal performance by Gaëlle. In the same style, we can also mention 'Perfect Foil' with its remarkable very refined part in the middle of the title and the energetic 'Louder', classic but so effective. And when the lights are dimmed and the music is softer, we savor blues compositions like the magnificent 'Razor's Edge' or the sensual 'What Might Have Been' in which Gaëlle touches the stars and has nothing to envy to the best blues singers or the mid-tempo 'Promise' in a style close to the 70s with formations like 'Eagles', without forgetting the ballads 'A Rose Without A Thorn' or 'Just Like The Wind' or even 'Perfect Lullaby' which closes the album and which make us all climb on a small cloud.

In summary, with 'Your Journey', 'Gaëlle Buswel' undoubtedly offers us her most accomplished album to date and, even if she will certainly not have the honors of French radio stations, and it is Too bad, it has now taken a good place in the musical landscape of blues and rock, like other French artists (I am thinking in particular of 'Laura Cox' or 'Tr3nte' band who have just released a new album) which show that France has talents capable of competing with international artists in this style of music...

Line Up / Musicians

Gaëlle Buswel (Vocal, Guitar), Jb Petri (Bass), Laurian Daire (Keybords), Michaal Benjelloun (Guitar, Sitar, Mandolin), Steve Belmonte (Drums)

Artist : Odd Dimension

Album : The Blue Dawn

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 04-05-2021

'Odd Dimension' is an Italian progressive metal formation that is already around twenty years old but has only released two albums 'Symmetrical' and ' The Last Embrace to Humanity' in 2013 and since, nothing more until 'The Blue Dawn' released at the end of March 2021 and which is a concept album that plunges us into a science fiction story, I quote the words of the group : " two space travellers – Markus and Eloise – involved in a deviation from their original path caused by the attacks of an unknown population that makes them land on a new planet then called ‘The Blue Planet’ where they’ll have to struggle to live, to the point of creating an army with the very matter of that planet to help them restore order and save their children, who will eventually mix with the hosts created by them, generating a new race.". In addition to the singer of the group 'Jan Manenti', they called on three other artists including 'Roberto Tiranti' from 'Labyrinth' as well as two female singers 'Aileen' and 'Eliana Parodi', to flesh out the vocal register and the 'Dreamhater' keyboardist 'Derek Sherinian' was invited on the eponymous track of the album.

After the atmospheric instrumental introduction 'Mission n ° 773' which sets the scene for this saga, 'Landing On Axtradel' takes us on a long impactful instrumental part brought by the sounds of electronic keyboards and it is only in the second part of the title that we discover the very expressive and powerful vocals of 'Jan Manenti', the whole showing a resolutely progressive face with many changes of rhythm and intensity, then, 'The Invasion' continues in a progressive made of rhythmic breaks but with marked influences of hard-rock from the 70s with magnificent guitar solos. Change of scenery with 'Escape to Blue Planet' (see video above) which calms the ardor of the first titles and which takes us for the first half in a power ballad with the participation of 'Simona Aileen' responding to 'Jan Manenti', then, the tempo accelerates for an unbridled instrumental part with beautiful guitar and keyboards solos to end with a remarkable decrescendo part returning to the starting theme. 'Solar Wind' is then a short acoustic break in which, violin and piano form a very beautiful duo, then, 'Life Creators' continues with the certainly the least progressive composition of the album with a beautiful melody that we appropriate immediately. Then comes the masterpiece 'The Blue Dawn' which delivers us 10 minutes of original progressive with a fairly soft first part but which, after three minutes, evolves into powerful hard-rock which takes us back a new time to the seventies and then we follow. offers remarkable and varied instrumental sections in which each member of the group brings their stone to the building, the end of the title returning to the more relaxed atmosphere of the beginning. With 'Sands of Yazukia', the progressive side is still very present with beautiful alternations of intensities and tempos and with beautiful vocal performances, first of all from 'Simona Aileen' and on the end of 'Jan Manenti', then 'Flags Of Victory' softens the subject in a melodic and epic composition with a remarkable new vocal trio, 'Eliana Parodi', 'Roberto Tiranti' and 'Jan Manenti' and with a magnificent final guitar solo. The album ends in a beautiful way with 'The Supreme Being' which, apart from a robotic voice is entirely instrumental and continues to alternate different atmospheres with first, progressive metal close to 'Dream Theater', then after, a slower part with a 'Floydian' guitar solo and a refine finish with a piano that churns out a few notes.

In summary, the Italians of 'Odd Dimension' release a rich and varied album that mixes rock and progressive metal and which, like any good album of this type, improves itself listening after listening and offers on the one hand very beautiful vocal performances and on the other hand original and brilliant instrumental parts...

Line Up / Musicians

Jan Manenti (Vocal), Gianmaria Saddi (Guitar), Gabriele Ciaccia (Keybords), Gigi Andreone (Bass, Voix), Marco Lazzarini (Drums) + Guests : Aileen (Vocal), Daniela Caschetto (Cello), Eliana Parodi (Vocal), Damien Dell'Amico (Voix), Derek Sherinian (Keybords), Roberto Tiranti (Vocal)

Artist : Paris

Album : 50/50

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 11-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Paris' is a French group made up of 'Frédéric Dechavanne' and 'Sébastien Montet' who got to know each other on the school benches and who, in the 80s, started playing together being influenced by hard bands -rock melodic of the time and which finally released 2 albums, 'Only One Life' in 2013 and 'The World Outside' in 2016 . 2021 saws the release of a new album '50/50' produced by the very famous 'Steve Newman' in the middle of melodic hard-rock ('NEWMAN' and 'COMPASS'). We therefore find this AOR style that we knew on the previous opus with catchy compositions supported by incisive guitar riffs, vocal performances with choirs of the level of the best formations of the 80s and always very effective guitar solos, all this being wrapped by very accessible melodic lines. In short, even if they are not going to revolutionize melodic rock, the French of 'Paris' offer us a galette filled with compositions that we enjoy listening to and '50 / 50' is an album that should appeal to all amateurs and all lovers of accessible melodic rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Frédéric Dechavanne (Vocal, Keybords), Sébastien Montet (Guitars, Keybords, Chœurs), Rob McEwen (Drums), Dave Bartlett (Bass) + Guests : Robert Sall (Guitar)

Artist : Winding Road

Album : Winding Road

Release Date : 26-03-2021

Added : 13-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Winding Road' is a new Swedish band (another one !) which comes to play the troublemaker on the melodic hard rock scene and which was created in 2018 by guitarist, bassist and keyboardist 'Magnus Åkerlund' and by drummer and keyboardist 'Jan Hedlund'. And from the first titles 'It's A Matter Of Survival', 'Summertime' and 'Call On Me', we are bathed in an AOR that can be enjoyed without moderation with heady choruses that are grafted directly into the head to never come out. And the rest continues like this beginning with melodies that we appropriate from the first listen and we can quote the irresistible 'Stranger In The Night', 'On My Own Again', 'Gotta Get Close To You' or even 'We Can Run Away' which ends the album in a beautiful way. The calmer atmospheres are not forgotten with the mid-tempo 'Out of Control' and 'Before It All Falls Down' but also the two magnificent ballads 'I Lost You' and 'Take Me as I Am'. In short, in a few lines I think I have quoted almost all the compositions of this very beautiful album by the Swedes of 'Winding Road' which enters through the front door of international melodic rock and which should make this eponymous opus of the group a 2021 reference in this style so popular in Scandinavian countries...

Line Up / Musicians

Jonas Tyskhagen (Vocal), Magnus Åkerlund (Guitar, Keybords, Bass, Chœurs), Jan Hedlund (Drums, Keybords, Chœurs) + Guest : Fredrik Folkare (Guitar)

Artist : Psychic Equalizer

Album : Revealed - Revealed II

Release Date : 19-03-2021

Added : 25-04-2021

'Psychic Equalizer' is a project of the Spanish classical pianist 'Hugo Selles' created in 2011 and who began to compose instrumental music in the field of background music emphasizing the piano. Over time, his project evolved towards the progressive and have come to be added different artists with, first of all, the Spanish keyboardist 'Adrian Ubiaga', the Australian singer 'India Hooi' and the Colombian guitarist 'Carlos Barragán' and 2019 saw the release of the album 'The Sixth Extinction' which was inspired by the book of 'Elizabeth Kolbert' and which put forward a progressive style borrowing from different styles of music, each artist bringing his influences, the result being a magnificent musical patchwork containing a long development 'Wilderness' mixing admirably classical, flamenco , jazz, rock and so on (if you like their new album, I also recommend you to listen to 'The Sixth Extinction').

The first 21-minute EP 'Revealed' was released in April 2020 and given the health crisis, they tweaked a second part which was released in March 2021, the link spotify that I created being the compilation of the two parts. 'Unveiled' (see video here ) opens the EP in a musical landscape slowly rising in intensity for deploy a marked and rapid rhythm in which we discover the characteristic singing of 'India Hooi' which brings a very particular freshness and with original instrumental interventions, then, complete change of scenery with 'Summer Clouds' which is a melancholic piano/voice ballad in the first part which takes us on a journey filled with calm and serenity with a slight final crescendo adding electric instruments and drums. With 'Away', the acoustic guitar with Andalusian accents of 'Carlos Barragán' delicately accompanies the celestial singing of 'India Hooi', then, without transition, the electric guitar of the introduction of 'Lost In The Universe' is reminiscent of the introductions of 'Van Halen' and 'India Hooi' completely change register to borrow the voice of 'Tarja', the 'Camerata Coral' ensemble from the University of Cantabria bringing an admirable vocal density in this energetic symphonic title. The EP ends smoothly with an acoustic cover of 'Lonely Soul' from 'The Sixth Extinction', the clean version of this track being very beautiful.

Now let's move on to 'Revealed II' which starts with 'The Astronomers' (see video here) which makes us go through all kinds of feelings, first of all with an instrumental introduction made of keyboard layers which prepares a first part removed which gives way to a refined piano/voice part preceding a section putting the electric instruments forward with a slow and heavy tempo which gradually gains momentum to become majestic and which ends with a rapid rise on the piano before ending on a calm section acoustic guitar / vocals which reminds me of the atmosphere of d'If' of the 'Floyds' : simply beautiful. With 'Destination Zero', the progressive side alternating different atmospheres is put forward again with variations of intensity and tempos making coexist in a very beautiful way the energetic electric sections and the acoustic parts on the piano filled with a palpable emotion, then, 'Something Hurts' makes us climb on a small cloud with a composition in crescendo in which the vocal performance of 'India Hooi' gives goosebumps and which has a refined final of any beauty. The second part offers us 'The Last Of Humankind' (see video above) with an extraordinary contrast between the soaring introduction brought by the soft sound of the flute and the continuation introduced by electric guitar riffs and an interspersed metal style by some bastringue piano notes which give way to a crazy section offering a mad tempo until a new solemn and powerful part in crescendo with a guitar solo that triggers me shivers of pleasure, the sung finale abruptly ending on the singing of 'India Hooi' rising in the treble : pure happiness ! Follows 'You Won't Have My Faith' which is still a very emotional track with nuances taking us from a purified section of any beauty to an intense rise in power to fall back into this wonderful duo in which the piano merges with the singing and the album ends with the airy 'Lament' with delicate vocals by 'India Hooi' and a masterful guitar solo by 'Carlos Barragán'.

In summary, this direction taken by the 'Psychic Equalizer' project is everything that thrills me in progressive music because 'Hugo Selles' has this talent to make such different styles coexist by merging them to obtain a result amazing and 'Revealed' should appeal to an audience loving progressive music mixing classical, symphonic, rock and metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Hugo Selles (Keybords, Piano), India Hooi (Vocal, Flute), Adrian Ubiaga (Keybords), Carlos Barragán (Guitar) + Guest : James Knoerl (Drums)

Artist : Mustafa Khetty – Morpheus Project

Album : Mozaick

Release Date : 19-03-2021

Added : 26-04-2021

The 'Morpheus Project' is the work of the adopted Irishman of Sri Lankan origin 'Mustafa Khetty' who is a classical composer but who, thanks to his different places where he has lived, both in the East and in the West, forged himself a very broad musical culture which explains this magnificent album 'Mozaick' imbued with different influences that can be described as progressive world music. And if you want to penetrate the musical world of this artist, the best way is to enter it through this magnificent video which combines dance with his music and which shows this fusion between the two arts for a result of extraordinary strength with this astonishing musical mix between electric instruments and influences from all over the world between east and west.

'Rage Before The Storm' introduces the album in a relaxing atmosphere filled with multiple flavors where we can find scents of the East but also psychedelic influences of the beginning of 'Floyds', then, 'Shrill' brings an additional dose of progressive with successions of different soundscapes putting strings, a piano and electric instruments in turn and moving from classical atmospheres to jazz, the metal singer 'Onur Cobanoglu' being invited on this track. Then follows the instrumental 'Dancing With Elves' which begins solemnly with sounds of church organ and which takes off fairly quickly with a lively rhythm and electronic sounds supported by a guitar reminiscent of the sound of 'Carlos Santana' until the middle of the title which takes a completely different turn with a very calm part with an acoustic guitar which is joined by a piano and which gains momentum on the same theme with a rhythm section leading the dance and which falls back into the sweetness of a few piano notes. 'It's Who We are! Mozaick ', part of which served as the basis for the video described above, is the longest title and takes us on a journey, first of all, to exotic countries with sounds that 'Johnny Clegg' would not have denied, then, follows a patchwork of influences that intertwine with each other as we have already seen above. With 'Tomorrow Never Comes', we continue to travel the world with an oriental introduction highlighting traditional percussions, then, the electric instruments join the traditional instruments in a marked tempo in which 'Mustafa Khetty' offers us a very expressive vocal performance before a swaying instrumental section always led by an imaginative rhythm basis and which leaves room in the last third to a much quieter part. The end of the album features shorter but equally endearing compositions with first of all the ballad 'Waiting' with a remarkable new performance by 'Onur Cobanoglu', a ballad which gradually gains momentum for a final intense, then, 'Istanbul Swing', takes us on a delicious mix between oriental sounds and jazzy influences and we are not so far finally from the latino rock of 'Santana' with a characteristic guitar solo by in the second part and 'Nights to Remember' (see video here) offers several facets with an energetic introduction and a rather classic sung part bringing us back to melodic rock, the album ending in a very beautiful way with the instrumental 'Cry for Freedom' which is a classical piece introduced by a piano/cello duo joined by keyboards and magnificent aerial vocalizations and which has been and which was the subject of a video filled with a very special emotionici.

In summary, the 'Morpheus Project' of 'Maustafa Khetty' is still a great discovery 2021 and offers us a completely original facet in progressive music, bringing together music and musicians from the East and the West and as I often repeat, musical creation always offers beautiful things when it is multi-cultural because, from this union, projects are often born bringing some novelty that all progressive lovers are constantly looking for in their quest of new musical horizons...

Line Up / Musicians

Mustafa Khetty (Vocal) + Guests : Emircan Ünsev (Guitar, Keybords), Arda Keremoğlu (Guitar, Keybords), Arda Taner (Keybords, Piano), Berke Köymen (Drums), İrfan Keçebaşoğlu (Bass), Emirhan Üçkardaş (Guitar), Cem Ergunoğlu (Keybords), Onur Çobanoğlu (Vocal), Erkan Erzurumlu (Guitar), Onur Nar (Cello, Violin, Alto, Percussions), Burcu Arslantaş (Vocal), Gencay Kıymaz (Drums), Mehmet Özen (Bass), Gustavo Eiriz (Guitar, Violin), Sebastian Fahey (Keybords), Engin Ergen (Violin), Göksun Çavdar (Clarinette), Turgut Özüfler (Kanun), Türker Dinletir (Ney), Manual Villar (Sitar, Cello), Matias Chapiro (Piano), Zilan Küçükbalaban (Vocal)

Artist : Egor Lappo

Album : Trancevoicer

Release Date : 19-03-2021

Added : 27-04-2021

'Egor Lappo' is the project of Russian multi-instrumentalist and singer 'Egor Lappo' who has released two albums in the past three years ('Way Without Light' in 2018 et 'Azimuth' in 2019) and who qualifies his style as 'space prog-metal', I quote his page bandcamp : "Trancevoicer" is a space prog-metal concept album about two warring worlds. The story follows a renegade who decides to betray his home planet to save another one from occupation after cosmic catastrophe. Through his journey, other turncoats join him in pursuit of a detached but peaceful life. Both worlds reach the brink of destruction in the end: one from stubbornness, mistrust and solar flares, and another from possession, greed and wars". Musically, he puts forward cosmic keyboards supported by guitar riffs bringing power to his compositions, the whole being sprinkled with a good dose of progressive.

'The Renegade' which opens the bal is a good example of what awaits us on the whole of the opus with an introduction led by keyboards which fill the whole space and which are accompanied by a powerful rhythm section, the melodic lines being tame from the first listen and the singing of 'Egor Lappo' recalling artists of the 80s like 'Alan Parsons Project', the following title 'Dreamworld', dotted with electronic effects, continuing in this atmosphere and we say to ourselves that the metal tag, given the rather moderate style, is not necessarily appropriate for the few guitar riffs that accompany the keyboards but rather deserves the name of 'melodic space prog-rock'. The sequel scrolls through heady new melodies with 'Turncoat Allies', the sound being slightly more powerful, then, 'Contention' offers us an addicting chorus and 'The Mask of Kindness' continues in a very accessible melodic progressive. The second part of the album is like the beginning with a catchy pop 'Ship1426', the short cinematic instrumental 'Under the W' with spatial sounds taking us back to the 80s, then 'Sparks in the Nights' which is an energetic composition with always this well-balanced mix of dazzling keyboard sounds and a powerful rhythm section. When the atmosphere is calmer, 'On Such a Sad Note' takes us on a power ballad with a fairly classic but so effective guitar solo, the album ending with the mid-tempo 'With You' which delivers us a last melody whose chorus never leaves us.

In summary, this new album by Russian 'Egor Lappo' is very pleasant to listen to with very accessible melodies and omnipresent keyboards with sounds reminiscent of the synthesizers of the 80s supported by a powerful and modern rhythmic base, which intends 'Trancevoicer' to all fans of a catchy progressive rock that is quickly revealed from the first listen...

Line Up / Musicians

Egor Lappo (Vocal, Tous les instruments)

Artist : Lazuli

Album : Dénudé

Release Date : 16-03-2021

Added : 19-05-2021

After the very good 'The fantastic flight of Dieter Böhm' in 2020 released just before the health crisis, the French of 'Lazuli', deprived of tour to defend their last album, tried at the time, like a lot of formations, to do some covers in acoustic on YouTube with for example 'Mers lacrymales' from the last album and 'Une pente qu'on dévale' from the album 'Tant que l'herbe est grasse' from 2014. And the idea germinated to make an album of acoustic covers which is materialized by this magnificent 'Dénudé' containing 16 compositions and which one delicately grinds with happiness starting with 'J'attends un Printemps' in a magnificent piano/voice version, then, parade the discography of the French with these lyrics filled with poetry which are even more highlighted in this refined atmosphere and which contribute to the great tradition of French progressive rock initiated by 'Ange' about fifty years ago (wonderful cover of 'Capitaine cœur de miel' by 'Lazuli'). Listening to 'Mes Semblables', 'Vita est circus', 'La valse à cent ans', 'Une pente qu'on dévale' or even 'Un automne' which give us each their substantial marrow, we embark comfortably on a little cloud by abandoning us entirely to these melodies which, for a moment, make us escape from the mediocrity in which our dear governments have plunged us " A year ago, a century ago, an eternity ago ". Icing on the cake, the instrumental arrangements have been completely revisited with very beautiful accompaniments of acoustic guitar or piano to which are added at certain times the accordion of 'Dominique Léonetti' or the horn of 'Romain Thorel', and we can also underline very beautiful vocal harmonies throughout the album.

In short, the French of 'Lazuli' offers us a very beautiful journey filled with delicacy and poetry that can be enjoyed quietly in a quiet place with headphones on your ears and 'Dénudé' is recommended, beyond the fans from the group, to all those who have been bottle-fed with the rich and imaginative French progressive music, highlighting the beauty of our language, and which 'Lazuli' is currently one of the most beautiful representatives...

Line Up / Musicians

Dominique Léonetti (Guitar, Accordion, Vocal, Chœur), Claude Léonetti (Léode, Lap Steel, Rhode piano, Oud, Chœurs), Vincent Barnavol (Percussions, Marimba, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Chœurs), Romain Thorel (Piano, Cor, Chœurs), Arnaud Beyney (Guitar, Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Bass, Chœurs), + Guests : Aline, Christine, Marie (Chœurs), Elliot Léonetti (Didjeridoo)

Artist : Tr3nte

Album : Aveugle et Sourd

Release Date : 15-03-2021

Added : 24-04-2021

'Tr3nte' is a French rock formation which released two good albums in the 2000s, 'Tr3nte' in 2004 and 'Vu du Ciel' in 2006, then, nothing for 15 years, each member of the group being busy with other projects, until this new opus 'Aveugle et Sourd' which relaunches the group and puts it back at the center of the French rock scene. They therefore took the time to refine the 11 compositions (the twelfth title is a cover of 'Libre comme l'air' with the participation of 'Danny Vaughn' from the group 'Tyketto') which smells good a direct and effective rock with lyrics always engaged by sifting through all the ills of our society.

And from the start, with 'Malfamé', we are caught up in a heavy mid-tempo which strikes us with a first stripping text, then, 'Libre comme l'air' continues with a chorus which is immediately grafted into the head and which is typical of an uncompromising French rock that goes straight to the point. With 'My Odyssey', the atmosphere is much quieter with a beautiful semi-acoustic ballad conducive to escape, then, 'Blind and Deaf' sends us a good dose of energy with tailor-made lyrics to trigger an electro-shock in each of us, just like the following title 'Disparu des radars' which through a new corrosive rock title that can remind those of 'Trust' at the end of the 70s. New welcome break with 'Autant' which is a mid-tempo with a heavy bass line, then 'How many Bridges' continues in a quieter atmosphere, the guitar riffs becoming much less aggressive, this time recalling certain titles from 'Téléphone' from the 80s, just like 'In the middle of the desert' which follows with a very nice guitar solo of 'Thierry Velly'. Follows the pop 'Tattoo Burger' which gives an irresistible desire to move to the rhythm of the addictive melody, then, 'Une toise et du temps' is the second semi-acoustic break, which brings a melancholy and endearing side just like the last title 'Rêve hors norme' which ends the album in a very beautiful way in a sensual atmosphere brought by the muted trumpet, the title 'Libre comme l'air' then being cover with the participation of 'Danny Vaughn' as we have already seen above.

In summary, this new album from the French of 'Tr3nte' is a very good surprise 2021 and takes us on a varied journey in French rock with compositions ranging from energetic rock to harmonious pop through very endearing semi-acoustic songs, which destines 'Blind and Deaf' to a public loving to mix different styles and which appreciates melodic lines that we immediately appropriate...

Line Up / Musicians

Stef Reb (Vocal), Thierry Velly (Guitar), William Fourmental (Bass), Fabrice Trovato (Drums)

Artist : Gary Hughes

Album : Waterside

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 09-04-2021

'Gary Hughes' is the singer of 'Ten' whose very good last album 'Illuminati' dates of the end of 2018 and, 2021 sees the release of a new album from the Englishman, 'Waterside' with a good part of the line up of 'Ten' since he brought with him guitarist 'Dann Rosingana' and keyboardist and drummer 'Darrel Treece-Birch' (also 'Nth Ascension' and in solo, 'No More Time' or 'The First Step…Is To Take One'). This last album which is his eighth studio recording offers us 10 AOR tracks certainly a little less energetic than those of 'Ten' but with equally addictive melodic lines and this, from 'All At Once It Feels Like I Believe' (see video above) which begins the album with a ballad with a memorable first melody, then, 'Electra Glide' (see video here), with a slightly more saturated guitar, offers us a new chorus which will be grafted directly into your head. The sequel is like these first two titles with unstoppable melodies like 'The Runaway Damned' reminiscent of 'Bruce Springsteen' or the new addictive ballad 'Screaming In The Half Light' or the catchy 'Waterside' with its folk sounds (see video here), or even 'Save My Soul' with a new chorus that doesn't leave you, the album ending with the beautiful ballad 'When Love Is Done'. In short, even if it will not revolutionize the AOR style, 'Gary Hughes' continues to offer us magnificent compositions that are immediately tame, and, as his albums are not available on spotify, if you want to discover his best tracks , you can listen to his compilation 'Decades' which he released just before this last album and which offers two and a half hours of good AOR to consume without moderation...

Line Up / Musicians

Gary Hughes (Vocal, Guitar), Dann Rosingana (Guitar), Darrel Treece-Birch (Keybords, Drums), David Rosingana (Bass), Scott Hughes (Vocal, Choirs), Karen Fell (Choirs)

Artist : Blackmore's Night

Album : Nature's Light

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 11-04-2021

It had been quite a while since the couple 'Candice Night'/'Ritchie Blackmore' had not released an album because there was indeed in 2017 'Winter Carols' which was an augmented reissue of 2 titles of the original 2006 opus plus a few lives but their last studio recording already dates from 2015 with 'All Our Yesterdays'.

'Nature's Light' is therefore their new baby which contains 10 tracks including 3 covers with first of all 'Darker Shade of black' present on 'All Our Yesterdays' and which was a wink (my faith very succeeded with this remarkable fingering of Ritchie on the guitar and the no less perfect vocalizations of Candice) to the ultra known 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' of 'Procol Harum', a 2021 version of the ballad 'Whish You Were Here' (not that of the 'Floyds') present on their first opus of 1997 'Shadow of the Moon' and the very successful cover of 'The Second Element' from 'Sarah Brightman'. The original compositions take us into the now well-known universe of the couple with melodic tunes borrowing from folk, medieval and baroque music. The ensemble therefore makes us travel in their very particular but very endearing universe with heady melodies and this from the first title 'Once Upon December' (see video here) which, unlike the title, is very light and spring. 'Four Winds' then offers us an always very playful melody mixing folk and medieval intonations, then, 'Feather in the Wind' continues in this lively atmosphere which gives an irresistible desire to accompany it by clapping and waltz 'Twisted Oak' is the kind of very clean track that highlights the most the beautiful crystalline voice of 'Candice Night'. With the eponymous title of the album, we find ourselves in the Baroque era at the time of 'Lully' with images of the King's court in their eyes (see the video above), then the instrumental 'Der Letzte Musketier' brings us back to one of the favorite musicians of 'Ritchie Blackmore' with 'Jean-Sébastien Bach' and Hammond tones continuing with a good blues rhythm in which Ritchie likes to sneak his guitar (we remember the magnificent instrumental ballad 'Weiss Heim' from the album 'Down To Earth' by 'Rainbow'). After the cover of 'Whish You Were Here', the album ends in the lightness of a folk song with 'Going to the Faire' and the cover of 'Second Element' closer to the second version recorded by 'Sarah Brightman' in 1993.

In summary, 'Candice Night' and 'Ritchie Blackmore' continue their journey by giving us a very endearing new album and by offering us beautiful melodies in a light and quiet atmosphere, the kind of music we have much needed in our hectic period to be able to escape and forget this weariness generated by all these incoherent decisions linked to the health crisis...

Line Up / Musicians

Candice Night (Vocal, Bagpipe), Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar, Mandolin, Hurdy Gurdy), Christina Lynn Skleros (Vocal, Flute), Claire Smith (Violin), Mike Clemente (Guitars, Bass), David Baranowski (Keybords), David Keith (Drums)

Artist : Orden Ogan

Album : Final Days

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 12-04-2021

The Germans of 'Orden Ogan' are back with a new album 'Final Days' and, after two time trips to find ourselves first in the Middle Ages with 'Ravenhead' in 2015 and then in the American Far West with 'Gunmen' in 2017, it is in the distant future that we find 'Allister Vale', their immortal hero, in a sci-fi story that presents our world controlled by androids who have seized power and who risk leading all of humanity to its destruction. Musically, no surprise, we find this German tradition of a melodic power-metal with all the ingredients that we search in this style of music : powerful compositions accessible at first listening thanks to effective melodies and choirs very present, this last album bringing here and there, theme obliges, keyboards with electronic sounds.

'Heart of the Android' opens the debates and sets the tone for the album with an energetic first track whose chorus is easily embedded in the head and which should work well in concert (it's also starting to be a little long, this period which depriving us of them !!), then 'In the Dawn of the AI' continues in this overheated atmosphere this time with some well-dosed electronic effects around artificial intelligence, 'Inferno' continuing with a hit super accessible melodic which gives an irresistible desire to headbang to the rhythm of the music, 'Let the Fire Rain' not being outdone with its imposing choirs to make a whole room sing. Without transition, we continue with the speed 'Interstellar' in which 'Gus G.' was invited and concocted us a sumptuous guitar solo, then, after all this energy, the ballad break is welcome with 'Alone In The Dark' and this time the guest is the singer 'Ylva Eriksson' who trains a very nice vocal duet with 'Seeb'. And we start again with 'Black Hole' which is dotted with some electronic effects and which offers a new addicting chorus, then after a fairly classic 'Absolution For Our Final Days', the album ends with a quick 'Hollow' which still puts forward heady choirs and 'It Is Over' closes this futuristic saga with certainly the most varied composition (moreover the longest) with a more progressive approach and a new chorus that never leaves you. It should also be noted that, taking into account the postponements of the release of this album, the group was able to refine many videos with the titles 'Heart of the Android', 'In the Dawn of the AI', 'Inferno' and 'Let the Fire Rain'.

In summary, the Germans of 'Orden Ogan' continue to do what they have always known how to do best, good melodic power-metal that tames on first listen and 'Final Days' should without any doubt to make people happy in the ranks of the band's fans but also should appeal to all those who love a powerful and melodic metal with choruses that loop in the head...

Line Up / Musicians

Sebastian « Seeb » Levermann (Vocal, Keybords), Nils Löffler (Guitar), Patrick Sperling (Guitar), Steven Wussow (Bass), Dirk Meyer-Berhorn (Drums) + Guests : Gus. G. (Guitar), Ylva Eriksson (Vocal)

Artist : Secret Sphere

Album : Lifeblood

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 13-04-2021

On March 12, several power-metal albums were released and after the Germans 'Orden Ogan', it is the Italians of 'Secret Sphere' who are releasing a new opus 'Lifeblood' after 'The Nature of Time' in 2017. Already well known in the world of power metal since it is already their 9th opus in 25 years of existence, they continue on the path mapped out in the previous opus with 11 compositions which see the return to vocals of 'Roberto Messina' who had been absent since 2012 and we therefore find the original trio of the group with 'Aldo Lonobile' ('Edge Of Forever' and 'Timo Tolkki’s Avalon') on guitar, 'Andrea Buratto' ('Eternal Idol' et 'Timo Tolkki’s Avalon') on bass and then 'Roberto Messina' on vocals to which are added the keyboardist 'Gabriele Ciaccia' and the drummer 'Marco Lazzarini'.

After the symphonic instrumental introduction that could very well serve as the concert debut music of symphonic metal formations, the eponymous title of the album tumbles at a hundred miles an hour with a raging rhythm section and a first chorus which fits in your head without letting go, then, 'The End of an Ego' (see video here) continues in this communicative energy while 'Life Survivors' eyeing the side of symphonic metal and formations like 'Delain' or their compatriots from 'Temperance'. With 'Alive', we come back to fast power metal with again a heady chorus, an atmosphere that we also find in 'Solitary Flight', then 'Against All the Odds' (voir vidéo ici) slows down the pace for an AOR title with catchy melodic lines. Follow a classic 'Thank You', then 'The Violent Ones' brings a new energetic and catchy track before the fast 'Solitary Flight' and the beautiful semi-acoustic ballad 'Skywards' allowing a well-deserved break. It is certainly with the densest title (and moreover the longest), 'The Lie We Love' that the album ends in beauty in an atmosphere mixing power, symphonic and even a few touches of progressive which makes it, for my part, my favorite of the album.

In summary, the Italians of 'Secret Sphere' continue to make good varied power metal which mixes different styles with always this talent for compositions with heady choruses which destines 'Lifeblood' to an audience loving power metal with memorable melodic lines...

Line Up / Musicians

Roberto Messina (Vocal), Aldo Lonobile (Guitar), Gabriele Ciaccia (Keybords), Andrea Buratto (Bass), Marco Lazzarini (Drums)

Artist : Sunstorm

Album : Afterlife

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 14-04-2021

After nearly 12 years and 5 albums with 'Sunstorm' (including the very good 'The Road to Hell' dating from 2018), 'Joe Lynn Turner', the legendary singer (among others Rainbow and Deep Purple) gives way to a no less good singer, I named the Chilean 'Ronnie Romero' (having taken over the microphone with 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow' and also officiating with 'Lords Of Black' and the band of Japanese guitarist 'Nozomu Wakai', 'Destinia'), because 'Joe Lynn Turner' wanted to give another direction more muscular to this project which originally focused on AOR and this new album 'Afterlife' of 'Sunstorm' inducts 'Ronnie Romero' very comfortable in this style of had-rock.

And from the first eponymous track of the album, we embark on an energetic hard-rock with catchy melodic lines, then 'One Step Closer', which follows, very classic but super effective, also offers us a catchy chorus which never leaves you and as for 'Swan Song' (see video here ), we continue in a style that is strangely reminiscent of the 80s and the sounds of 'Rainbow' or 'Deep Purple' (see their latest album here), which we will find in several other compositions with 'Born Again', 'I Found a Way' or even 'A Story That You Can Tell' with quite characteristic guitar riffs. The other compositions are in a melodic AOR a little less muscular with the mid-tempo 'Stronger', the catchy 'Here for You Tonight' and 'Darkest Night', the power ballad 'Lost Forever' to add to the best hard-rock ballads not being forgotten. In short, even if they will not revolutionize melodic hard-rock, this last album of 'Sunstorm' is listened to with pleasure and reminds us of the best of hard-rock of the 70s/80s with a modern sound and a remarkable production, normal with 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' at the helm, which will allow 'Afterlife' to be appreciated by all melodic hard-rock fans...

Line Up / Musicians

Ronnie Romero (Vocal), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keybords), Simone Mularoni (Guitar), Nik Mazzucconi (Bass), Michele Sanna (Drums)

Artist : Issa

Album : Queen of Broken Hearts

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 15-04-2021

Hey, it's not been very long since I referred to the Italian 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' (yes just yesterday in the last column of 'Sunstorm'), because after having produced and participated in Issa's last album, 'Run with the Pack', he does it again with the Norwegian singer for her latest album 'Queen of Broken Hearts'. With a line-up of talented artists with guitarist 'Simone Mularoni' ('Sunstorm'), bassist 'Andrea Torricini' ('Vision Divine') and drummer 'Marco Di Salvia' ('Edge Of Forever') and 'Hardline') without forgetting 'Alessandro Del Vecchio' on the keyboards, she us offers 11 melodic jewels in an energetic hard-rock with a good balance between the riffs of saturated guitars and the keyboards which bring a bond to the whole. Everything is there to have a great time listening to all these hits that are immediately tamed from the first listen with addictive choruses that loop in the head. All these compositions could have been the subject of a single and, therefore, to name a few, I will say 'The Way Out' in which 'Issa Oversveen' shows all his vocal power, the powerful mid-tempo 'The Night It Rained Forever' and 'Drive' or the catchy 'Queen of Broken Hearts' and 'Without Love'. And the icing on the cake, 'Blues' (see video with the lyrics above) brings the power ballad break with hyper classic melodic lines but so effective and in which 'Simone Mularoni' enchants us with her guitar solo (that we would have liked a little longer). Also note that 'The Way Out' and Angel Calling' were the subject of two videos.

In summary, 'Issa' offers us a very good album filled with heady melodies that are tamed from the first listen and we can only wish her to make discover 'Queen of Broken Hearts' to the greatest number because she has all the assets to be one of the world ambassadors of melodic hard-rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Issa Oversveen (Vocal), Simone Mularoni (Guitar), Andrea Torricini (Bass), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keybords), Marco Di Salvia (Drums)

Artist : Thunder

Album : All the Right Noises

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 16-04-2021

I still admit it now, I am ashamed to have discovered 'Thunder' only during the release of their last album 'Rit It Up' because the English continue to record albums all as addictive as each other for the amateur of good '70s hard rock that I am (their latest album 'Please Remains Seated' was still a great success). This new opus 'All the Right Noises' still contains compositions that can be enjoyed with happiness and each of the 11 titles brings its originality which makes us embark for 48 minutes between rock-n-roll, rock, hard-rock and metal, all this being performed masterfully by the same quintet as the previous opus.

'Last One Out Turn Off The Lights' (see video
here) welcomes us in an energetic atmosphere of rock tagged seventies with a rhythm section spinning a serious desire to stomp, then, 'Destruction' is a heavy and powerful mid-tempo with a bewitching bass line and with a guitar solo in the second part that I would have liked much longer. Follows 'The Smoking Gun' which is semi-acoustic and gives us a classic blues/rock in which 'Danny Bowes' gives a remarkable vocal performance, then the guitar riffs of 'Going to Sin City' (see video above) make it a cross between 'AC/DC' and 'Led Zeppelin' on a rhythmic to make us pick up the head by dint of headbanging. Return to a mid-tempo in the style of 'Destruction' with 'Don't Forget To Live Before You Die' which restarts the tapping machine, then, place for the melancholy break with 'I'll Be The one' which takes us back to the best ballads of the 70s/80s with its guitar solo which gives you goosebumps and 'Young' takes us on board for a new rhythmic mid-tempo composition with an unstoppable chorus. With 'You're Gonna Be My Girl' (see video here), we go to America with a super classic US rock but which is very effective with melodic lines that give the impression that they have always been a part of our life, just like 'St George's Day' which follows in a melancholy blues/rock style which can recall some compositions of Eagles', then, 'Force of Nature' continues in this atmosphere of the seventies with an acoustic introduction that quickly gives way to electric instruments and with an energetic and swaying rhythm close to 'Led Zeppelin', the album ending with an effective hard-rock with energetic riffs and if, this kind of track, you do not have an irresistible desire to move your whole body to the rhythm of the heady choirs, c is that you are definitely not cut out for that kind of music.

In summary, the English of'Thunder' continues to enchant us with their compositions which have this taste so characteristic of what we could do best in rock and hard-rock of the 70s and for all those who liked the major formations of this time, go listen to 'All the Right Noises' because it will certainly become an album which will turn in loop in your favorite playlists...

Line Up / Musicians

Danny Bowes (Vocal), Luke Morley (Guitar, Vocal), Ben Matthews (Guitar, Keybords), Chris Childs (Bass), Gary 'Harry' James (Drums)

Artist : AmartiA

Album : Daylight Beauty

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 17-04-2021

'AmartiA' is a French formation which already has twenty years of existence and which releases its fifth studio recording, 'Daylight Beauty' after three albums in the last four years with 'The Beast Within' in 2017, the acoustic cover of different compositions from their repertoire, 'In a Quiet Place' in 2019 and a live, 'The Beast Alive (Live)' the same year. Tagged in rock and progressive metal, we can now say that their musical direction has completely erased the metal component and, even if the last opus still brought some more muscular passages, the style of 'Daylight Beauty' is intended to be quieter and we embark on a wonderful progressive journey tinged with atmospheric and we could compare this last album to what can be done by groups that I appreciate more particularly like 'Mostly Autumn', 'ILLUMINAE' or the formation of 'Ryszard Kramarski', 'tRKproject' to name only few groups with female singers.

'Lose Control' welcomes us in a cozy atmosphere with the sweet voice of 'Amandine Duwooz' which gradually gains momentum and with a first melody that envelops us gently and on which we surrender completely, then, 'Dancing Light' continues with a more marked rhythm and with a remarkable guitar solo in the central part and a final in decrescendo punctuated by long chords supported by keyboards which come to counterbalance the repetitive tempo. With 'Lily', the sweet mix between Amandine's singing and guitar arpeggios delicately titillate our eardrums in a new endearing melody, the final 'Floydian' saxophone solo being wonderful, then, 'Child's Eye' sets the emotional cursor even higher with acoustic instruments which add an extra delicacy whether with piano or acoustic guitar and which has a melody that reminds me of those of 'Ian Jones' in the period 'Karnataka'. Equally addictive compositions follow that we continue to enjoy with happiness such as 'The Journey' which bears its name well and takes us on a delicious journey or the instrumental' In Waves' with its beautiful alternations of intensity or ' Old Man And The Sea 'which unrolls a new melody with a chorus that never leaves you or even the quiet' Melancholy 'whose title alone sums up the atmosphere released throughout the opus. And to finish in style, 'Please Tell Me' offers us a new soft and calm melodic jewel and 'Cloud 9' ends on a more energetic note while keeping this admirable alchemy between the aerial and subtle song of Amandine and the electric instruments which intervene more strongly between the sung sections.

In summary, the French of 'AmartiA' release an album in all respects remarkable which shows a resolutely softer face compared to their last studio recording and which is interpreted admirably by talented musicians and by a singer who transports us throughout the album, which destines 'Daylight Beauty' to an audience loving a delicate and sought-after progressive with catchy melodies from the first listen...

Line Up / Musicians

Cyril Carrette (Keybords, Piano), Amandine Duwooz (Vocal), Sébastien Descarpentries (Bass, Guitar, Keybords), Vincent Vercaigne (Guitar, Choirs), Quentin Daumal (Drums)

Artist : Saga

Album : Symmetry

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 18-04-2021

During the health crisis in 2020, many groups unplugged their electric instruments to release acoustic albums and this time, it was the turn of the Canadians of 'Saga' who recorded 'Symmetry' with the contribution of strings. We therefore find titles from all of their careers revisited with interpretations that give us a whole different reading and this from the start with 'Pitchman' from the album 'Heads Or Tales' from 1983 which is unrecognizable and the modern rewrite gives a second youth to this already 40 years old track with violins and acoustic guitars that twirl, then we carry on with a very successful patchwork of compositions with 'The Perfect Time to Feel Better' which brings together in a beautiful way 'Time to Go', 'The Perfectionist' and 'We Hope You're Feeling Better', all the three titles being conducive to this acoustic reinterpretation. The sequel takes us back in time to the end of the 70s with a melancholy 'Images - Chapter One' then scrolls 'Always There' from 2001 (album 'House of Cards') with its very original banjo accompaniment, the two small instrumental commas 'Prelude' of 'Ian Crichton', an endearing 'Say Goodbye to Hollywood' of 'Steel Umbrellas' from 1994, a new medley 'The Right Side of the Other Hall' bringing together the compositions 'Footsteps in the Hall' and a mix between 'You Were Right' and 'On the Other Side' by 'Trust' released in 2006 and which they have completely revised with additions here and there like this magnificent folk break in the middle of the title. New instrumental break with 'La Foret Harmonieuse' which is a piano study of 'Jim Crichton' on which 'Michael Sadler' comes to put a few words, then the album ends with three essentials of 'Saga', first with 'Worlds Apart' which offers us a whole different face from the original impetuous (released in the live 'In Transit' from 1982) and which becomes almost melancholy for the occasion, then' No Regrets' which suffers the same fate and which is certainly my favorite of the album with the beautiful instrumental arrangements to finish with Equally addictive 'Tired World' with a 'Michael Sadler' at its peak, the accompanying acoustic instruments bringing that festive side that 'Saga' has conveyed for so many years.

In summary, the Canadians of 'Saga' release much more than pale acoustic covers of their compositions but simply give new life to these songs which have become staples of progressive rock for the past 40 years and we are even frustrated to arrive so quickly at the end of the album because, for my part, I would have taken a small dose with the same treatment made for 'On The Loose', 'Humble Stance', 'You' re Not Alone' or even 'Don't Be Late' but we console ourselves with the last live released in 2018, 'So Good So Far' from their last tour of 2017...

Line Up / Musicians

Michael Sadler (Vocal, Keybords), Dusty Chesterfield (Bass, Keybords), Ian Crichton (Guitar), Jim Crichton (Bass, Keybords), Jim Gilmour (Keybords, Clarinette, Saxophone), Mike Thorne (Drums) + Guests : Shane Cook (Violin), Stefany Seki (Cello), Beth Silver (Cello), Seren Sadler (Vocal)

Artist : Heart Healer

Album : The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 19-04-2021

The Swedish 'Magnus Karlsson' is on all fronts because the year 2020 saw the release of several albums with the association of 'Anette Olzon' and 'Russell Allen' ('Worlds Apart'), her participation in the last studio recording of 'Primal Fear', 'Metal Commando' and his latest baby with multiple guests, 'We Are the Night' and the Swedish multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer decided this time to compose a metal opera, called 'Heart Healer' in which he invited several female singers from the metal scene, each playing a character, and also surrounded himself with classical musicians allowing him to densify the whole with orchestral music. In the guest singers we find 'Adrienne Cowan' ('Seven Spires', 'Light And Shade'), 'Ailyn Gimenez' 'Sirenia', 'Her Chariot Await'), 'Anette Olzon' (ex 'Nightwish', 'The Dark Element'), 'Margarita Monet' ('Edge Of Paradise'), 'Netta Laurenne' ('Smackbound'), 'Noora Louhimo' ('Battle Beast') and 'Youmna Jreissati' ('Ostura').

With this beautiful array of guests, he therefore concocted an opera that tells us the story of 'Heart Healer', interpreted by 'Adrienne Cowan' who discovers a power to heal people by just imposition of the hands but which diminishes her more and more throughout these different heals. We are therefore embarked on a symphonic and progressive saga mixing orchestral music and metal with everything we want to find in this kind of album : epic compositions, grandiose arrangements and melodies that loop in the head and this from the first track 'Awake' which contains an imposing instrumental introduction then a symphonic sung part which alternates powerful passages and others much more restrained, 'Adrienne Cowan' giving us an admirable first performance. The whole is like this first title with effective melodies and accessible from the first listening, and parade addictive melodies with the lively duo of 'Adrienne Cowan'/'Anette Olzon' in 'Who Can Stand All Alone' , the mid-tempo 'Back To Life' which has a very beautiful chorus this time with a trio of singers, the other mid-tempo 'When the Fire Burn Out' with remarkable vocal and instrumental arrangements, the album going crescendo and offering us on the second part a beautiful vocal joust between 'Noora Louhimo' and 'Adrienne Cowan' with a new heady chorus ('Evil's Around the Corner') just like that of the following title 'Mesmerized' which highlights' Anette Olzon 'who certainly recorded the two vocal parts, then, the power ballad 'Weaker' in which 'Adrienne Cowan' moves us to tears when she understands that this gift which she possesses leads her to her loss and which prepares the fire final fireworks 'This is Not The End' (see video here) bringing together the seven singers for a melodic gem that continues to spin in our heads long after the last note has passed.

In summary, this new album from 'Magnus Karlsson' has all the ingredients of a quality metal opera, rich in beautiful melodies, grandiose in the orchestrations and, even if the choice of singers in the same range makes that we lose a little in the different characters, 'Heart Healer' is a great success that should appeal to all those who love symphonic and melodic metal with remarkable vocal performances...

Line Up / Musicians

Magnus Karlsson (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Anders Köllerfors (Drums), Daniel Tengberg (Cello), Erika Sävström Engman (Violin) + Guests : Adrienne Cowan (Vocal), Ailyn Gimenez (Vocal), Anette Olzon (Vocal), Margarita Monet (Vocal), Netta Laurenne (Vocal), Noora Louhimo (Vocal), Youmna Jreissati (Vocal)

Artist : Ronnie Atkins

Album : One Shot

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 20-04-2021

'Ronnie Atkins' is no stranger to the melodic hard-rock scene as he has been the singer of the Danish heavy metal band 'Pretty Maids' since its formation in 1981 (last album in 2019 'Undress Your Darkness') but also the singer of 'Nordic Union' which last album 'Second Coming' date of 2018. And it was only after 40 good and loyal service with 'Pretty Maids' that the Dane decided to release his first solo album, certainly driven by this bad news of this lung cancer and, with the help from Swedish multi-instrumentalist 'Chris Laney' who joined 'Pretty Maids' in 2016, they called on experienced melodic hard-rock artists with former 'Pretty Maids' keyboardist 'Morten Sandager', drummer 'Allan Sørensen' who joined 'Pretty Maids' in 2016, bassist 'Pontus Egberg' who participates in many projects including 'The Poodles' and 'Treat' but also distinguished guests like 'Bjørn Strid' ('Soilwork' et 'The Night Flight Orchestra'), the guitarist 'John Berg', the guitarist 'Kee Marcello', the former female singer of 'Therion', 'Linnea Vikström Egg', guitarist and singer 'Oliver Hartmann' and guitarist 'Pontus Norgren' from 'Hammerfall'. With all these beautiful people and given the circumstances, this album of 'Ronnie Atkins' takes on a whole other dimension that we feel when listening to all these melodies which give off a very special emotion and which we hope will serve of music therapy for the singer.

'One Shot' therefore offers 11 compositions all as melodic as each other and we have a great time listening to 'Real' (see video here) with its heady chorus, 'Scorpio' (see video here) and its rhythm that gives you ants in your feet, the melancholy power ballad 'One Shot' (see video above) that I added to my playlist of the best ballads 'Ballades rock/hard-rock/métal', the catchy 'Subjugated' that can recall, in a style a little more muscular, the hymns of 'Bruce Springsteen' from the 80s, or the melodic jewel 'Frequency of Love'. The second part of the album continues in the same style in a melodic hard-rock which hooks from the first chords and then, scroll 'Miles Away' filled with an endearing melancholy, two tracks in a rock FM style with dazzling guitars , 'Picture Yourself' and 'I Prophesize', 'One by One' with its resplendent choirs and to finish 'When Dreams Are Not Enough' whose addictive chorus that gives you that irresistible desire to accompany Ronnie in chorus.

In short, 'Ronnie Atkins' surrounded by a set of quality artists from the hard-rock world, released a magnificent album which touches more particularly in the circumstances that we know, and to conclude, I will remember for a long this April 2019 evening at Z7 when 'Tobias Sammet' presented his last metal opera 'Moonglow' with all the artists present animated by a single desire, to give pleasure to the few thousand spectators present during the three concerts which had been scheduled (including one added at the last minute) and, among all the singers, was present a certain 'Ronnie Atkins' who, like every concert, had given the best of himself for our greatest pleasure...

Line Up / Musicians

Ronnie Atkins (Vocal), Chris Laney (Guitar, Keybords, Chœurs), Anders Ringman (Guitar), Morten Sandager (Keybords), Pontus Egberg (Bass), Allan Sørensen (Drums) + Guests : Bjørn Strid (Chœurs), John Berg (Guitar), Kee Marcello (Guitar), Linnea Vikström Egg (Chœurs), Oliver Hartmann (Guitar, Chœurs), Pontus Norgren (Guitar)

Artist : Popa Chubby

Album : Tinfoil Hat

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 21-04-2021

We left 'Ted Horowitz' (aka 'Popo Chubby') with his last album 'It’s A Mighty Hard Road' at the start of 2020. Since then, the crisis has passed there and, knowing the American's positions, we suspected that he was preparing us a new album on this period with the first video 'Tinfoil Hat' released on you tube in October 2020 and which was a sharp criticism of politicians in their management of disastrous crisis and which begins with: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are in 2020 in the United States of America and this song is dedicated to all you crazy people". And so it is during March 2021 that this last baby of 'Popa Chubby' has been released and we find him as he has always been for thirty years, often excessive in his critics but always fair and with this a touch of humor that characterizes him to convey with his words all these evils he denounces (magnificent photo of the cover on which he is decked out, first of all, with the 'Tinfoil Hat', mark of the 'conspirators' who fight against all those who try to establish their hegemony over the human race but also with a half-put on mask leaving a cigarette sticking out). So, of course, some will say that musically, he brings nothing new but what better way to shout all these injustices and criticisms of our society than with good classic blues/rock which hits the mark in each composition, whether oriented rock'n'roll, shuffle, country, reggae or even quite simply original blues. In short, no need for great speech, this album is still that of a whole and sincere musician and singer who pours us all his feelings which go from despair to hope passing through love, joy, fear and frustration and so on, and to finish I will quote what he wrote at the release of this album: "like all of you, this pandemic has pushed me to the limits of my humanity. But the music, the sweet music, put me back on the right path once again. I therefore offer you this work with humility and all the devotion I have for you! "...

Line Up / Musicians

Popa Chubby (Vocal, Tous les instruments)

Artist : Chez Kane

Album : Chez Kane

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 22-04-2021

I presented you a few days ago the album 'Queen of Broken Hearts' of 'Issa' and, on the same day, was released the debut solo album of the Welshwoman 'Chez Kane' who has already recorded two albums with her sisters under the band name of 'Kane'D', first 'Rise' in 2015 and 'Show Me Your Skeleton' in 2018. The 'Frontiers Records' label which produces 'Issa' and 'Chez Kane' albums therefore diversifies to certainly open the melodic hard-rock style to the general public, but unlike what we can have in the field of international variety where the look often prevails over the music, both young ladies also ensure at the musical level and therefore offer us good melodic hard-rock that takes us back to the best of the 80s.

Regarding 'Chez Kane', the Welshwoman is supported by composer/producer 'Danny Rexon' ('Crazy Lixx') and the 10 compositions of the Swede are all sized to hook the listener from the first listen with refrains that titillate our neurons and that we want to replay in a loop, enthusiasm being the key word throughout the opus. Whether it's catchy compositions with melodies that immediately embed themselves in the head like 'Rocket on the Radio' or 'Get It On' or 'Midnight Rendezvous', melodic AOR rock like 'Better Than Love' or 'Too Late for Love', or even rhythmic mid-tempos that start the headbanging machine like 'All of It', without forgetting the quieter moments like 'Defender of the Heart' or 'Dead End Street', we find the spirit of the 80s with female singers like 'Pat Benatar', 'Johan Jett', 'Lee Aaron', 'Lita Ford' or even 'Bonnie Tyler'.

In summary, 'Chez Kane' is releasing an album that embarks us in the time machine with addictive melodies that will put you in shape for a whole day and, like 'Issa', she has it all the assets to become a new ambassador of a mix between melodic rock and hard-rock very accessible to the greatest number...

Line Up / Musicians

Chez Kane (Vocal)

Artist : White Void

Album : Anti

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 23-04-2021

'White Void' is a new project initiated by the singer 'Lars Are Nedland' who officiates in two groups tagged in black metal ('Borknagar', 'Solstafir') and who brought black metal drummer 'Tobias Solbakk' with him ('Ohsahn')) but also two other artists quite far from his musical styles, the blues rock guitarist 'Eivind Marum' and the bassist 'Vegard Kummen' who evolves in electro music. If you read the label's bio, « 'White Void', it's the lack of direction and meaning in life. It is the description of a fundamental gap between the search for meaning by the individual and the absence of logic in the universe », we say to ourselves that we are more in a treatise on philosophy than an album of music but, at the first listening, we are embarked in a musical universe which mixes different musical styles while keeping an immediate accessibility which confuses the listener with this double impression of immediately hanging on to the different melodies without being able to cling to known references, these two feelings being finally very well summarized in the definition of the label.

'Do. Not. Sleep.' starts the album in an atmosphere far removed from the black parts of 'Borknagar' with a fairly classic first construction but nevertheless bringing a dose of progressive with some changes in tempos and intensity and with melodic lines that are immediately tamed, then, 'There Is No Freedom But The End 'offers two faces with first of all, verses that can make think of certain sounds of the 80s, the group coming to my mind being 'Depeche Mode', then the chorus slows down the rhythm and goes up in power with a completely addictive melody. Follows 'Where You Go, You'll Bring Nothing' which starts in a slow tempo which releases an imposing force and which alternates with faster parts even integrating a kind of jazzy disgression, then, 'The Shovel and the Cross' us embarks on a mix between hard-rock from the 70s and new-wave from the 80s with a rather dark side and 'This Apocalypse Is For You' picks up the pace for a new mix, this time between hard-rock and punk. The great strength of these compositions is this fusion between several styles with alternations between catchy parts and others much more posed, powerful and solemn, process which one often finds in progressive rock but which is used here by integrating in it of other quite diverse influences drawn from the rock and hard-rock music of the 70s / 80s and 'All Chains Rust, All Men Die' is still the perfect illustration. And it is with the catchy and energetic 'The Fucking Violence of Love' which is much more linear than the rest while still having addictive melodic lines and 'The Air was Thick with Smoke', much more sought after in the construction which takes us on a track with several drawers always supported by hard-rock sounds that the album ends in a very nice way.

In summary, 'Lars Are Nedland' offers us a new project which is ultimately not so far from its two main projects in the approach because, in the same way as 'Borknagar', 'White Void' mixes different styles of music, the only component he removed being the black metal side which makes this new project much more accessible thanks also to melodic lines that integrate immediately...

Line Up / Musicians

Lars Are Nedland (Vocal), Tobias Solbakk (Drums), Vegard Kummen (Bass), Elvind Marum (Guitar)

Artist : The Darren Phillips Project

Album : Volume Two

Release Date : 12-03-2021

Added : 09-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Darren Phillips' is an Australian who hosted a melodic rock radio show and therefore had to invite many artists of this style so that, over time, he made a name for himself an impressive address book. Being an author/composer himself, it was natural that he shared his demos and 2017 saw the release of a first album, 'The Darren Phillips Project – Volume 1', with the collaboration of many melodic rock artists. Among others, we found 'Dennis Ward', 'Robbie LaBlanc' or 'Michael Palace'. 2021 sees the release of a new album in which we find artists from the first opus but also new names from the melodic rock scene. We are therefore embarked on 10 compositions that take us back to the 80s with a mix of styles ranging from a moderate AOR to more muscular hard-rock. In short, this 'Volume Two' is a pleasant album to listen to with varied compositions and if you like melodic rock in general, you should probably find melodies that you like in this second opus of the Australian...

Line Up / Musicians

Darren Phillips (Guitar) + invites : Daniel Skeed (Guitar, Keybords), Rob Wylde (Vocal), Enzo Almanzi (Guitar), Alex Waghorn (Vocal), Philip Lindstrand (Guitar), Dennis Ward (Vocal), Anton Joensson (Guitar), Bryce Mileto (Drums), Robbie LaBlanc (Vocal), Xavier Millis (Keybords), Brennan Mileto (Vocal), Chrisse Olsson (Guitar), Alex Strandell (Vocal), Erik Heikne (Guitar), Dennis Butabi Borg (Bass), Herman Furin (Drums), Mikael Skafar (Drums), Patrik Svard (Guitar), Jon Powers (Keybords)

Artist : Vian Fernandes

Album : Half Life

Release Date : 07-03-2021

Added : 10-04-2021

When you are not content to listen to what the great music majors put between your ears all day long but that you make the effort to research by yourself to satisfy your quest for the musical holy grail, the Internet is a magnificent tool to achieve this and in this precise case, that's what happened to me with the last album of 'Vian Fernandes' which does not make the headlines but which releases its third studio recording 'Half Life' after 'Pahadi' in 2016 et 'Alive' in 2017. Of Indian origin, Vian is known in his country to be the bassist of the Indian group 'Thaikkudam Bridge' and made prominent appearances in 'music Mojo' on Indian TV channel 'kappa TV' which highlights young talents (I have listed his videos below). His discography shows a pachtwork of styles with of course, first and foremost his musical roots, but he is also inspired by modern musical trends such as rapping, and his latest album shows a new side of this complete artist with progressive influences that take us on board in a magnificent journey, very rich and varied.

The eponymous track of the album begins with a spoken presentation of the theme of this opus : "Have we all lived our lives to the fullest, or have we left something behind unfinished ? If yes, we will all live a half-life, until we are born again to finish what we left behind and once again live another Half Life". Follows 'Genesis' which begins with sound effects close to the beginning of the 'Floyds', then some vaporous choirs fill all the space to give way to a 'Floydian' melody with the bass of Vian which prints some marked and well-placed hits for finally fall back on the final. 'To be with Me' which follows is one of my favorites of the album, the airy atmosphere of this track bringing a real emotion thanks to the soft voice of 'Vian' which contrasts with more intense riffs, the guitar solo in the second part (certainly from 'Prandeep Pande') being very beautiful. Very nice transition between power and tranquility with 'A World Undone' which welcomes us with some soothing notes of the flute, and which highlights the delicious voice of 'Rahel Dutt' and after three minutes comes a remarkable instrumental section with a break in intensity and leaves for an intense finale. We continue our beautiful journey with a semi-acoustic ballad in which the vocal duo 'Vian Fernades'/'Rahel Dutt' is a pure delight, then the introduction of 'ADHD' sends us a good dose of energy with a muscular rhythmic in which the rhythm section alternates intensities and tempos remarkably livened up by beautiful vocal parts and interventions of the electric guitar and the title softens very strongly and offers us magnificent vocalizations of 'Gazal Mohanty', the instrumental final in crescendo rocking us with a heady melody. The rest of the album further increases the emotional cursor by a few notches with first of all, 'Answers to my Life' which reminds me of the atmospheres of the compositions of the project 'Blackfield' by 'Steven Wilson' and 'Aviv Geffen', then, 'Fireflies' unveils a calm and restful atmosphere in which it is good to let go while being lulled by the sweet song of 'Vian' accompanied by a delicious female singing. The end of the album continues in this delicate and melodious climate with 'My Northern Star' (see video here) in a psychedelic atmosphere and 'The Voyage' offers us a last heady melody that never leaves you with beautiful vocal performances by Vian and Rahel.

In summary, 'Vian Fernandes' releases a magnificent album with compositions filled with a very beautiful poetry that take us on an intense musical journey and, if you like quiet and delicate atmospheres in progressive rock, you should undoubtedly appreciate 'Half Life' which is tasted in a quiet place with the headphones on your ears...

Videos of 'Vian Fernandez' on the show 'music Mojo' :
= When I'm gone
= Baba Naam
= To be with Me

Line Up / Musicians

Vian Fernades (Bass, Guitar, Vocal), Rahel Dutt (Vocal), Pradeep Pande (Guitar), Ravi Kiran (Flute), Siddharth Kulkami (Keybords), Prince John (Drums), The Voyage Choir (Choirs), Gazal Mohanty (Vocal)

Artist : Ken Hensley

Album : My Book Of Answers

Release Date : 05-03-2021

Added : 07-04-2021

This review and the following one are devoted to two artists who marked the history of rock in the 70s by having shared during 10 years the most beautiful moments of 'Uriah Heep' and who, by hazards of life, died at the end of 2020 within a few weeks of each other, so that their two respective posthumous albums have a very special dimension, I named the singer, guitarist and keyboardist 'Ken Hensley' and the drummer 'Lee Kerslake'. First of all, let's pay tribute to 'Ken Hensley' whose album 'My Book Of Answers' was released in early March. For his last album, he set to music poems by a Russian businessman, 'Vladimir Emelin' whom he met during a trip to Moscow and we therefore find the paw of ex 'Uriah Heep' entry with 'Lost (My Guardian)' (see the video here) tagged seventies in a fairly slow rhythm, then, 'Right Here, Right Now' is a transpose of 'The Hanging Tree' from the album 'Firefly' from 1976 which played many times on my turntable at the time. The suite is devoted to quieter compositions highlighting the talent of melodist of 'Ken Hensley' and this, certainly magnified by certainly this feeling that it could be his last album, with for example the two mid-tempo 'The Cold Sacrifice' (see video here) and 'The Silent Scream' or wonderful ballads like 'Cover Girl', 'Light The Fire (In My Heart)' or even 'Stand (Chase The Beast Away)' which is the type of song that gives you goosebumps with its very beautiful choirs and this melody that takes us back a few decades in the great tradition of English pop and rock songs (see video above), the album ending with two other melodic gems 'The Darkest Hour' (with an acoustic version which for me is even more emotional ) and 'Suddenly' (see video here) divided into two parts with first a long instrumental introduction and then a melancholy sung part with strong words about his life and a last melody that never leaves you. In short, 'Ken Hensley' bows out in the most beautiful way possible by offering us a last album very emotional which reminds us of all those melodies of the 70s which accompanied our youth in the period 'Uriah Heep' and which are now part of our collective memory...

Line Up / Musicians

Ken Hensley (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Izzy Cueto (Guitar), Moises Cerezo (Bass), Tommy Lopez (Drums), David Gonzalez (Piano), Esther Martinez, Gema Torregrosa, Ana Belen Sanchez, Angela Cabanillas, Anaihi Avayan, Veronica Rubio (Cordes)

Artist : Cast

Album : Vigesimus

Release Date : 05-03-2021

Added : 04-06-2021

I reviewed their last album 'Power And Outcome' in 2017 which introduced me to this Mexican group with multiple albums (see their discography here< / a>). Led by keyboardist 'Luis Alfonso Vidales' since their debut in the 70s and who is also the composer, they released at the beginning of May a new studio recording 'Vigesimus' (meaning it's their 20th album in Latin), still very rich in content because 76 minutes are offered to us for our greatest pleasure.

So, on menu, there are 10 compositions that range from a few minutes to 4 long tracks which alone are more than 40 minutes long. We therefore find this progressive style of the Mexicans with sought-after symphonic arrangements which add an important richness throughout this album, and which refer us to the major progressive formations of the 70s with names like 'Genesis', 'Kansas' or 'Yes' who used to mix classical instruments with electric instruments. From the start, we have this proof with 'Ortni' which takes us in an instrumental with sumptuous and generous arrangements with a massive use of strings and the acoustic guitar which twirls in a masterly way, then, 'Black Ashes and Black Boxes' continues in this symphonic richness, the resulting atmosphere making me think of
'Renaissance' in their most energetic titles. With 'The Unknown Wise Advise', we hold the first track bordering on 10 minutes which develops unbridled symphonic rock requiring several listenings to reveal all its richness, the instrumental parts always being very full and particularly complex, then, the short 'Another Light 'is much more direct with more pop influences and as for 'Manley' which follows, it is a tormented instrumental with many changes of tempos which further increases this stormy atmosphere. Change of scenery with 'Location and Destination', which is in a much lighter style, the violin bringing a classical component, flirting with the baroque for 5 minutes and which, after an orchestral final, continues with a rather offbeat instrumental part of the above, repeating the same musical phrase many times with some variations. With 'Crossing', we start the last part of the album with the longest developments in a more romantic atmosphere and with a melody that we immediately tame and which has beautiful vocal harmonies making me think of 'Jethro Tull', then, 'The Cross' continues in a quiet climate with a magnificent melancholy ballad which gradually gains momentum, the rhythm section arriving late enough for a moving final. The progressive side takes the front again with 'Contacto' which is entirely instrumental and which alternates different atmospheres, going from an epic progressive rock and to neo-classical with harmonious melodic lines, with orchestrations reminiscent of 'Renaissance'. The album ends with 'Dredging to a Higher Place' which highlights the violin of 'Roberto Izzo' and which takes us into rich and abundant instrumental parts reminding me of certain atmospheres of 'Kansas', the majority of the sung parts being concentrated in the second part always supported by a flamboyant orchestration.

In summary, the Mexicans of 'Cast' release a very dense album marrying in a beautiful way progressive rock and symphonic and which, like good wine, improves over time and listenings, which destines 'Vigesimus' to a public who like to take their time to discover, little by little, all the richness of a dense work like this one...

Line Up / Musicians

Luis Alfonso Vidales (Keybords), Bobby Vidales (Vocal), Lupita Acuna (Vocal), Claudio Cordero (Guitar), Roberto Izzo (Violin), Carlos Humaran (Bass), Jose Antonio Bringes (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Marillion

Album : With Friends at St David's

Release Date : 04-03-2021

Added : 05-04-2021

At the end of 2019 was released on 'With Friends from the Orchestra', and for those who had been frustrated by the too short duration of this album, the English of 'Marillion' do it again with the string quartet 'In Praise Of Folly', the horn player 'Sam Morris' and the flautist 'Emma Halnan' with this time a real concert lasting more than two hours and with a DVD/Blu-ray which will be released at the end of May 2021 and which will combine the two recordings with some extracts from other concerts. In this new set list, we see 'Gaza' from the album 'Sounds That Can' t Be Made' from 2012 which borders on 20 minutes, 'The New Kings' from the 'F*** Everyone And Run (FEAR)' from 2016 and the energetic 'Separated Out' of the album 'Anoraknophobia' renamed for the occasion 'Zeparated Out' for the wink to one of the pioneers of rock with this magnificent orchestral aside of 'Kashmir' (the super group 'Sons of Apollo' had also made a cover of this title in the last live 'Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony'). In short, for the fans of the group and more generally, for all those who like the long developments of a rich and refined progressive, this concert given by the English of 'Marillion' in Cardiff in 2019 is still an essential album to add at their ideal collection of music and, patiently awaiting the DVD/blu-ray release, you can preview the recording with first, the teaser (see above) and the title 'Seasons End'...

Line Up / Musicians

Steve Hogarth (Vocal), Steve Rothery (Guitar), Ian Mosley (Drums), Mark Kelly (Keybords), Pete Trewavas (Bass) + Guests : Emma Halnan (Flute), In Praise Of Folly (Quatuor à cordes : Nicole Miller – Alto, Maia Frankowski – Violin, Margaret Hermant – Violin, Annamie Osborne – Cello), Sam Morris (Cor)

Artist : Kerrs Pink

Album : Presence of Life

Release Date : 04-03-2021

Added : 06-04-2021

'Kerrs Pink' is a Norwegian band which has already been around fifty years of existence but which had several periods of inactivity and which released 6 albums including 2 in the 80s, 2 in the 90s and who came back to the fore in 2013 with a very nice album 'Mystic Spirit' which has relaunched the group once again and 2021 sees the release of 'Presence of Life'. In a progressive rock mixing symphonic and folk influences taking us back to the 70s, they offer us 6 tracks for a fairly short duration compared to the rest of their discography, but let's not sulk our pleasure, because it is still a magnificent album with melodic lines that make one think of the great formations of the 70s and one could quote 'Kansas', 'Camel' or 'Jethro Tull' who celebrated their fifty year career in 2020 but also their compatriots 'Magic Pie', their singer 'Eirikur Hauksson' also officiating with 'Kerrs Pink'.

'Renaissance' welcomes us with an accordion quickly joined by electric instruments in a progressive atmosphere of the 70s highlighting hammond organ sounds and with different nested parts made of magnificent rhythmic breaks which makes it a first very pleasant title also thanks to beautiful melodic lines, then, 'Private Affair' hardens the subject with more present guitars but keeps a varied construction in which 'Eirikur Hauksson' shows all his vocal talent between the energetic parts and others calmer. With 'The Book of Dreams', the atmosphere of the beginning is softer and this new composition of more than 9 minutes takes us on a beautiful journey to the intonations of 'Kansas' with a catchy melody and, again, magnificent breaks of tempos and intensity, bringing an epic side close to 'Queen' (listen between the 3rd and 4th minute), then 'Away from Shadows' continues in this atmosphere with a new progressive construction with intense bass in the enegetic parts which contrast beautifully with the quieter parts that offer us an addictive melody filled with intense emotion. Then comes the beautiful ballad 'Luna', the shortest track of the album but which continues in a melancholy atmosphere to lull us by its very beautiful melodic lines and it is with the long development 'In Discipline And With Love' that the The album ends in a progressive symphonic fresco with all the ingredients that any lover of this style is looking for and in which we let ourselves be guided in a labyrinth making a succession of multiple soundscapes which is a good summary of this album filled with many admirable moments.

In summary, this new album from 'Kerrs Pink' offers us a very pleasant and accessible progressive which takes us back to the 70s and which should join the ideal collection for all an audience who likes the references mentioned above, and this with modern sound and flawless production...

Line Up / Musicians

Eirikur Hauksson (Vocal), Harald Lytomt (Guitar), Per Langsholt (Bass), Glenn Fosser (Keybords, Accordion), Magne Johansen (Drums, Choirs), Lasse Johansen (Piano, Keybords), Hans Jørgen Kvisler (Guitar)

Artist : Epica

Album : Omega

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 24-03-2021

'Epica' had made us patient with the release of 'The Quantum Enigma (B-Sides)' at the end of 2020 because their last album 'The Holographic Principle' already dated from 2016 and it is its successor which is now available since the end of February 2021. The fame that the Dutch have forged since a decade is now impressive, their facebook page exceeding 2 million subscribers (the period of early 2010 during which they filled the small room of the z7 is far away !!), makes that a good number of fans awaited this new offering of the band at 'Simone Simons'. No need to make you languish, 'Epica' continues to make 'Epica' style and, all the compositions are in the right line of the previous opus with imposing symphonic orchestrations, grandiose choirs and a singing / growl duo between 'Simone Simons 'and' Mark Jansen 'which has always performed admirably, all supported by accessible melodic lines often mixing East and West.

First of all it's still a dense album as we are already used to with 'Epica' because it is 70 minutes available to us and 'Omega' is a new concept album and deals with different subjects such as this convergence of spiritual beliefs, scientific observations and that everything that makes up the universe converges in the direction of an end point but also, in bulk, of yin and yang, of the balance between light and l darkness, good and evil, the climate emergency or even genetic manipulations : a whole program. Given the density of this album, making title to title would require too long a chronicle (and there are already tons of them on the internet) and therefore, I will focus this one on three points : first, l 'opus offers melodic lines which are immediately tame and which make that, from the first listening, one is immediately hooked by each composition and this from the beginning with 'Abyss of Time - Countdown to Singularity' which, after the setting in instrumental appetite 'Alpha - Anteludium', pours us a heady melody and which has all the ingredients that I mentioned above. Then, with the means that the group has garnered in the past years thanks to its growing popularity, they can now afford the luxury of calling on a full orchestra, an imposing choir and even a children's choir, which considerably densifies the whole and which ensures that each composition is worked down to the smallest detail and brings an impressive dimension, not to mention the production which is always so admirable. The other point which is also to underline and which shows all the talent of this formation, is that the earbook edition accompanying the two other editions is not simple filling but contains in addition to the main CD, 3 other CDs with first of all, as they had already accustomed us to with 'The Quantum Enigma' and 'The Holographic Principle', covers in acoustics which are literally transformed and bring a whole different reading than the original titles; then, the other two CDs are the instrumental CD without the vocals of Simone and the growls of Mark and it is especially the last CD which contains the orchestral versions, highlighting the impressive work of orchestration and which allows to bring out the instruments of the orchestra which brings an additional dimension to this album. We can also note that they did not skimp on the video outputs because in addition to Abyss Of Time 'which was the subject of a single at the end of 2020 and which can be viewed above, three other videos are now available on you tube with 'Freedom – The Wolves', 'Rivers' and ' The Skeleton Key'.

In summary, as you will understand, the Dutch of Epica 'continue their way with impressive albums which shows that it is not chance that leads them to be one of the leaders in this particular style because they have this talent to merge the metal and the symphonic in a grandiose way with, icing on the cake, melodic lines always very accessible...

Line Up / Musicians

Simone Simons: Vocal), Mark Jansen (Vocal, Guitar), Coen Jansen (Keybords), Isaac Delahaye (Guitar), Rob Van Der Loo (Bass), Ariën Van Weesenbeek (Drums) + Guests : Vicky Psarakis (Vocal), Zaher Zorgati (Vocal)

Artist : Neil Young, Crazy Horse

Album : Way Down In The Rust Bucket (Live)

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 04-04-2021

'Neil Young', at 75, continues to release studio albums on the one hand with 'The Visitor' in 2017, 'Colorado' with the 'Crazy Horse' in 2019 or even 'Homegrown' in 2020 which was recorded in 1975 but never released and on the other hand, he shares new live recordings with us with 'Return to Greendale' from the 2003 tour with the 'Crazy Horse' to promote the album 'Greendale' and it's still another album with the 'Crazy Horse' which has just been released with 'Way Down in the Rust Bucket' which highlights the period of the 90s because this live was recorded just after the release of 'Ragged Glory', one of the most electric albums of the American. Therefore, this live allows to hear again live this beautiful bond between 'Neil Young' and the three members of 'Crazy Horse', 'Franck Sampedro' on guitar, 'Billy Talbot' on bass and 'Ralph Molina' on drums in a set of nearly two and a half hours with, of course, a good place given for 'Ragged Glory' since of the 19 songs performed, 8 come from it, the rest being shared between titles matching with this 'electric' playlist like 'Surf John and Moe The Sleaze' or 'Cinnamon Girl' or 'T-Bone' but also unmissable classics with 'Homegrown', 'Bite The Bullet' and 'Like a Hurricane'. In short, a magnificent set list for all fans of the American but beyond that, 'Way Down In The Rust Bucket (Live)' is a testament to this traditional American music which has rocked a good number of fifties and which is now part of the musical culture of all amateurs and all lovers of rock from the 70s/80s...

Line Up / Musicians

Neil Young (Vocal, Guitar), Frank Sampedro (Guitar, Vocal), Billy Talbot (Bass, Vocal), Ralph Molina (Drums, Vocal)

Artist : Bonfire

Album : Roots

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 25-03-2021

The Germans of 'Bonfire' had given us at the beginning of 2020 an excellent album with 'Fistful of Fire' and, like many groups that have taken advantage of this 2020 year, for lack of concerts (we are overwhelmed with very good albums at the beginning of 2021, difficult to follow the rhythm !), they offer us a new album but a bit special because they decided to reinterpret compositions from their old albums in semi-acoustic, the electric guitar having been disconnected. We thus find, first of all, a sort of best of from their various albums with a preponderant place for their first opus (in total 11 compositions of their first 3 albums 'Don't touch the Light' of 1986, 'Fire Works' from 1987 and 'Point Blank' from 1989), the rest being made up of 5 compositions from their 3 last album and only 3 titles between the two periods (thus finally the good times of the beginning and of the last 4 years). Of course, the semi-acoustic style lends itself very well to the beautiful ballads that they have been able to compose during all these years and we find mostly melodic nuggets that are 'Let Me Be Your Water', 'Comin' Home', 'Give It A Try', 'Who's Foolin 'Who', 'When An Old Man Cries', 'Love Don´t Lie' or even 'Lonely Nights' and so on. But, in addition, the icing on the cake, they have concocted for the occasion five new compositions which can be found at the end of the album, in short, only good 'Bonfire', with two new ballads 'Your Love Is Heaven To Me' and 'Our Hearts Don´t Feel The Same' which I added directly to my playlist 'Rock/hard-rock/metal ballads'.

In summary, this last album of 'Bonfire' is a new great offering from the Germans because, on the one hand it returns to the first period of the group with essential titles and, on the other hand, offers five new compositions which are well in line with the three very good last albums, which makes 'Roots' an album intended not only for fans of this formation, but also for a wider audience because 'Bonfire' still shows a once that they are an essential group in the international hard-rock landscape...

List of tracks with their original albums :
01 – Starin' Eyes (Don't touch the Light, 1986)
02 – American Nights (Fire Works, 1987)
03 – Let Me Be Your Water (The Räuber, 2008)
04 – The Price Of Loving You (Point blank, 1989)
05 – Comin' Home (Temple of Lies, 2018)
06 – Ready 4 Reaction (Fire Works, 1987)
07 – Give It A Try (Fire Works, 1987)
08 – Sleeping All Alone (Fire Works, 1987)
09 – Who's Foolin' Who (Point Blank, 1989)
10 – Why Is It Never Enough (Point Blank, 1989)
11 – Fantasy (Fire Works, 1987)
12 – When An Old Man Cries (Fistful of fire, 2020)
13 – Love Don't Lie (The Räuber, 2008)
14 – Lonely Nights (Byte the bullet, 2017)
15 – Under Blue Skies (Strike ten, 2001)
16 – You Make Me Feel (Don't touch the Light, 1986)
17 – No More (Don't touch the Light, 1986)
18 – The Devil Made Me Do It (Fistful of fire, 2020)
19 – Without You (Byte the bullet, 2017)
20 – Your Love Is Heaven To Me (Unpublished)
21 – Piece Of My Heart (Unpublished)
22 – Youngbloods (Unpublished)
23 – Our Hearts Don´t Feel The Same (Unpublished)
24 – Wolfmen (Unpublished)

Line Up / Musicians

Alexx Stahl (Vocal), Frank Pane (Guitar), Hans Ziller (Guitar), Ronnie Parkes (Bass), André Hilgers (Drums)

Artist : Bonnie Tyler

Album : The Best Is Yet To Come

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 26-03-2021

2019 saw the release of 'Between the Earth and the Stars' with, among others, this original collaboration with the leader 'Francis Rossi' of 'Status Quo' and 'Bonnie Tyler' continues, at 69, to record albums, 'The Best Is Yet To Come' being her last baby. And for this last opus, no prestigious guests but a host of artists and always the same producer at the command, I named 'David Mackay' who produced a good number of international artists (and even our National Johnny !). On the program, the 12 compositions smack of the 'Bonnie Tyler' of the 80s and mix pop and rock with very classic melodic lines which are integrated directly to the first listen. Then, even if some will find that this album is less rock than what we have known in the past, listening to anthems like 'The Best Is Yet to Come', 'Dreams Are Not Enough', 'Stuck to My Guns', 'Call Me Thunder' or 'When the Lights Go Down' which take us back to another era, we can only let ourselves be carried away by these simple but so effective melodies. Calmer moments aren't forgotten with wonderful compositions like 'Stronger Than a Man' (co-written by 'Desmond Child' who is the author of several songs of 'Kiss' and 'Aerosmith') or the cover of '10cc', 'I'm Not In Love' or the blues 'Stronger Than A Man' and 'I'm Only Guilty - Of Loving You' or 'You're the One' or the semi-acoustic 'Catch the Wind', originally sung by 'Donovan'. In short, this new album of 'Bonnie Tyler' offers us a beautiful journey through time with catchy melodies which recall '... a time that the under twenty have never known' and which show that she remains an essential artist on the international scene and if you are still not convinced, I invite you to watch this video of her last tour in 2019 in which she performs 'Turtles Blues' by 'Janis Joplin'...

Line Up / Musicians

Bonnie Tyler (Vocal), David Mackay (Percussions, Choirs, Keybords, Piano, Programmation Drums, Programmation Bass), Richard Cottle (Keybords, Saxophone), Steve Womack (Guitar, Chœurs), Josh Renton (Guitar, Chœurs), Daz Shields (Drums, Chœurs), Neil Lockwood (Chœurs), Kevin Dunne (Guitar, Bass), Miriam Stockley (Choirs), Miriam Grey (Chœurs), Laurence Cottle (Bass), Bob Jenkins (Drums), Geoff Whitehorn (Guitar), Ian Stuart Lynn (Piano), Ray Russell (Guitar), Leo Rojas (Flute de Pan)

Artist : Evergrey

Album : Escape of the Phoenix

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 27-03-2021

After their trilogy consisting of 'Hymns for the Broken', 'The Storm Within' and 'The Atlantic', the Swedes of Evergrey' took advantage of the health crisis of 2020 to release a new studio recording, 'Escape of the Phoenix' which brings their discography to 12 albums in twenty-five years of existence, their first album 'The Dark Discovery' dating from 1998. Navigating between progressive metal and melodic metal, they bring a variety in this style by alternating often quite opposite atmospheres passing from powerful and direct compositions to much calmer moments quite far from the energy of metal but still with melodic lines that are easily integrated and this latest opus is still the perfect illustration. And as fans are now used to it, the lyrics of 'Tom S. Englund' continue to question us about the man and this time through the phoenix that dies and resurrects every day, I quote Tom : "And I put that into words, tried an anthropocentric approach where in a Human context, if we were a phoenix, we would be trapped in a period of our life without being able to get out of it and go nowhere. Thinking about it, I said to myself : what would happen if we finally left this poor bird in peace and let it lose permanently ?" (interview given to 'La Grosse Radio').

The start is made with two direct and powerful titles, first of all 'Forever Outsider' (video here), the first in a hellish way with a first heady chorus, then, 'Where August Mourns' (video here) continues but with a more moderate tempo and alternations of intensity between the verses and the chorus, the melodic lines being always very accessible. Change of scenery with 'Stories' which is the first power ballad with a 'Tom S. Englund' still at ease in this kind of title, letting a real emotion exude in these more moderate atmospheres, then, with 'A Dandelion Cipher', it's off again for a impetuous ride, the rhythm section imposing a frenzied tempo before returning to more restraint with 'The Beholder' which sees the participation of the singer of 'Dream Theater', 'James LaBrie', followed by the magnificent ballad, 'In The Absence of Sun' with yet another magnificent vocal performance from 'Tom Englund' and magnificent bursts of intensity which should make it a moment full of emotion in concerts. The rest of the album offers us an 'Eternal Nocturnal' (see video above) which was the subject of a single and which is well representative of these alternations between raw energy and more nuanced parts (with a solo by guitar worthy of the name in the second part and a particularly catchy melody), the eponymous title of the album which is certainly the most heavytitle of the album, then, 'You from You' which follows, brings again a break with its predecessor with a new ballad and, if you close your eyes during the guitar solo, we see 'David Gilmour' appear in person (if believe me, experience it !). And to finish, 'Leaden Saints' and 'Run' take us one last time in this metal energy with two unleashed rhythmic sections, the last one ending the album with a new completely addictive melody.

In summary, this latest 'Evergrey' album shows all the talent of this band with all the ingredients that made them come to be a major metal formation and, therefore, 'Escape of the Phoenix', beyond the fan base who will certainly be conquered by this latest offering from the Swedes, can be a good way for an audience not familiar with them and liking a melodic metal, powerful and offering beautiful alternations of intensity, to discover this band...

Line Up / Musicians

Tom S. Englund (Vocal, Guitar), Henrik Danhage (Guitar), Johan Niemann (Bass), Rikard Zander (Keybords), Jonas Ekdahl (Drums) + Guest : James LaBrie (Vocal)

Artist : Last Days Of Eden

Album : Symphonic Chrysalis

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 28-03-2021

In the musical world of symphonic metal, we are used to these groups recording their albums with symphony orchestras, the latest being the new album 'Omega' from Epica', but, other than the latter, it's not very common that a group release an entirely instrumental album without any contribution of the electric instruments. This is what the Spaniards of 'Last Days Of Eden' achieved with this symphonic cover of their last album 'Chrysalis'. Apart from 2 titles, the last opus is taken again entirely and all these titles have been completely rewritten for the orchestra, the released atmosphere is of course closer to a classical concert than to metal and, necessarily, is not necessarily intended for the same audience as their historical fans but, for my part, symphonic metal has always been a subtle mix between the important influences of classical music and heavy metal and in this specific case, the melodic lines of 'Last Days Of Eden' lend themselves perfectly to a classical interpretation. In short, this album is intended for a public who loves beautiful melodies interpreted by a symphony orchestra and, why not, will allow some fans to discover the orchestral world...

Line Up / Musicians

Carlos Garcés (Chef d'orchestre), Orquesta Filarmonía de Oviedo

Artist : Don Airey

Album : Live in Hamburg

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 28-03-2021

After his last album 'One of a Kind' released in 2018, 'Don Airey' offers us this time a concert, 'Live in Hamburg', and, in this case, a beautiful journey through time because, for my part, apart from a few titles of 'Don Airey' dating from these last albums, I saw myself a few decades ago using the LPs of the mythical albums of the 70s/80s of 'Deep Purple', 'In Rock' from 1970 and 'Machine Head' from 1972 but also the 'Rainbow' albums with 'Down To Earth' from 1979 and 'Difficult To Cure' from 1981. This concert is a pure happiness for all those who like the artists mentioned above because of the 16 songs performed, more than half are from the two formations, the rest being shared between two titles of 'Gary Moore' including the famous 'Still Got The Blues' which always gives me goosebumps with each listening (and with a guitarist like 'Simon McBride', the thrill lasts the entire duration of the title), 3 compositions from Don's solo albums including 'Lost Boys' from 2018 who flirted with good hard rock from the seventies, 'Desperado' from 'Colosseum II' and 'Is This Love' from 'Whitesnake' (which have just released their three-album compilations (see here). So when tracks follow in the last part of the concert like 'Child In Time' and his long keyboard and guitar solos, 'Difficult to Cure' in which we still see 'Ritchie Blackmore' making his guitar laugh, 'Hush' which brings us back to the beginning of 'Deep Purple' with its chorus that we have repeated many times and introduced by the enormous solo of 'Spotlight Kid' of 'Rainbow', the classic passage at the end of the title being a pure marvel, or the 4 addictive tracks of 'Lost in Hollywood' of 'Rainbow' to end with a huge 'Black Night', all this with a concert sound as if we were there and artists who transmit their joy of playing to the public ('Don Airey' always at the top in his solos and keyboard accompaniments, the others not being outdone with 'Carl Sentance' on vocals which makes a huge show, 'Simon McBride' on guitar reminiscent of a certain 'Ritchie Blackmore' and the bass/drums rhythm section accompanying in a very beautiful way), we can only be conquered by this atmosphere of live and all this liberated generosity that recalls the concerts of the 70s/80s where anything was possible. In short, no need for a long speech, this 'Live in Hamburg' is a dynamite bar for a fabulous journey through time and should appeal to all those who have known this key period which saw hard-rock take off with formations that have become legendary...

Titles list :
01 – Nuclear Attack (Gary Moore – 1983)
02 – Pictures of Home (Deep Purple – 1972)
03 – Shooting Star (Don Airey – 2008)
04 – I Surrender (Russ Ballard/Rainbow – 1981)
05 – Still Got the Blues (Gary Moore – 1990)
06 – Desperado (Colosseum II – 1977)
07 – The Way I Feel Inside (Don Airey - 2011)
08 – Lost Boys (Don Airey – 2018)
09 – Is This Love (Whitesnake – 1987)
10 – Child in Time (Deep Purple – 1970)
11 – Difficult to Cure (Rainbow – 1981)
12 – All Night Long (Rainbow – 1979)
13 – Lost in Hollywood (Rainbow – 1979)
14 – Hush (Joe South/Deep Purple – 1968)
15 – Since You’ve Been Gone (Russ Ballard/Rainbow - 1979)
16 – Black Night (Deep Purple – 1970)

Line Up / Musicians

Don Airey (Keybords), Carl Sentance (Vocal), Simon McBride (Guitar), Laurence Cottle (Bass), Jon Finnigan (Drums)

Artist : Alice Cooper

Album : Detroit Stories

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 29-03-2021

At the release of his last album 'Paranormal','Alice Cooper' was almost 70 years old and it's still the same young man who, at 73 years old, is now releasing a new album 'Detroit Stories', and what an album !! And yet, the singer caught the coronavirus which has been rotting our lives for more than a year but quickly recovered to start afresh with new compositions dedicated to his city 'Detroit'. So, more than inspired, since there are 15 compositions that dot this opus, it takes us for a little hour between rock, hard-rock, blues and even soul with new titles but also covers that are tasted with happiness, in starting with the 'Rock and Roll', a cover of 'Lou Reed' in a slower tempo than the original but with a rhythm that can only make you want to move, then, with 'Go Man Go' (already present on the 'EP' Breadcrumbs' of 2019) we take full the ears in an atmosphere that flirts with the 'Sex Pistols'. Complete change of scenery with the 'Beatlesian' 'Our Love Will Change The World' and his addictive melody before leaving on good rock with 'Social Debris' then on '$ 1000 High Heels Shoes' in a soul atmosphere with his resplendent brass and what follows continues with effective rock, be it 'Hail Mary' or 'Detroit City 2021' (also featured on the last EP but simply renamed in 2021) or even the very classic but so effective 'Independence Day'. The good blues/rock is not forgotten with a vibrant 'Drunk and in Love' and the rest of the album continues with catchy tracks from the first listen with a crazy 'I Hate You', the pace mid-tempo 'Wonderful World' with its addictive backing vocals, the energetic 'Sister Anne' which is a cover of 'MC5', a typical 'Hanging On By A Thread - Don't Give Up' of the American glam rock style and the classic rock'n'roll 'Shut Up And Rock', the 'East Side Story' cover of 'Bob Seger' (and yes that does not make us younger), which has not aged at all and brought up to date, ending the album in a beautiful way.

In short, with this tribute to her hometown, the extra-terrestrial 'Alice Cooper', helped by talented artists, still offers us an album full of good titles which are consumed without moderation and which bring us back about five decades back when the American began his career which confirms once again that it is in old pots that we make the best soups...

Line Up / Musicians

Alice Cooper (Vocal, Harp) + Guests : Bob Ezrin (Keybords, Percussions, Piano, Organ), Joe Bonamassa (Guitar), Tommy Denander (Guitar, Keybords), John Rutherford (Trombone), Dennis Dunaway (Vocal, Guitar, Bass), Garret Bielaniec (Guitar), James Shelton (Organ), Jimmy Lee Sloas (Bass), Johnny "bee" Bedanjek (Drums), Keith Kaminski (Saxophone), Larry Mullen Jr. (Drums), Mark Farner (Guitar), Matthew Smith (Guitar), Michael Bruce (Vocal, Guitar), Neal Smith (Vocal, Drums), Paul Randolph (Bass), Rick Tedesco (Guitar), Steve Hunter (Guitar), Steven Crayn (Guitar), Tommy Henriksen (Guitar), Walter White (Trompette), Wayne Kramer (Guitar, Choirs)

Artist : Anneke Van Giersbergen

Album : The Darkest Skied Are The Brightest

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 30-03-2021

In my playlist of concerts released in the second half of 2020 ici), I presented you that of 'Anneke Van Giersbergen', a href='' target='_blank'>'Let the Light in (Live)' recorded with the chamber orchestra 'Kamerata Zuid' and 2021 sees the release of a new album from the Dutch, 'The Darkest Skied Are The Brightest', this time entirely acoustic and which was a must for her to recharge her batteries after her various past projects. And the result of this all-rounder is this magnificent opus which takes us on a sweet journey accompanied by the voice and the guitar of Anneke with very beautiful arrangements of the guitarist 'Gijs Coolen' (who participates since 2011 in the project 'Agua de Annique' of the Dutchwoman).

From the first track 'Agape', the magic operates and we are carried away in a harmonious and delicate atmosphere, lulled by Anneke's song and guitar, the string arrangements bringing a delicious melancholy side, then, 'Hurricane' (see video above) accelerates the tempo for an addictive melody with beautiful vocal arrangements and a finale in which the trumpet brings an Andalusian lightness. We continue in this cozy atmosphere with 'My Promise' (see video here ) and the title that follows , 'I Saw A Car' (see video here ) brings the lightness of folk with a catchy rhythm which makes you want to accompany it by clapping your hands (the kind of song that in concert puts a smile on everyone's lips). The alternation between lightness and melancholy continues with 'The Souls Knows' with an always very delicate interpretation of Anneke who on this track rubs shoulders with stars just like the two following compositions 'The End' and 'Keep It Simple'. With 'Lo And Report', the addictive swaying rhythm deliciously alternates with more romantic parts and the melancholy then returns with 'Losing You' with a very moving melody, the singing of Anneke, soft and high pitched, amplifying this feeling even more of fullness. To recover from our emotions, the following track 'Survive' transmits us a contagious good mood with its catchy melody and its guitar accompaniment in the Flamenco way in the fast parts, the album ending with 'Love You Like I Love You 'in a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

In summary, 'Anneke Van Giersbergen' shows once again that she is a complete and entire artist that it is impossible to classify in a precise style which gives her this strength to be able to touch us as well in a metal style with her project 'Vuur', than in progressive music with the magnificent 'The Gentle Storm' from 'Arjen Lucassen', or than with a chamber orchestra with 'Let the Light in (Live)' or than now with this admirable album 'The Darkest Skied Are The Brightest'...

Line Up / Musicians

Anneke Van Giersbergen (Vocal, Guitar), Gijs Coolen (Arrangements)

Artist : Pentesilea Road

Album : Pentesilea Road

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 31-03-2021

'Pentesilea Road' is an Italian progressive rock project that was created in 2014 by 'Vito F. Mainolfi' and has just released their first album under the band's eponymous name. Looking at the guest list, we find very well-known names in the progressive world, whether rock or metal, since the singer 'Michele Guaitoli' of the symphonic metal groups 'Visions Of Atlantis' and 'Temperance', singer 'Ray Alder' from 'Fates Warning' and ex 'Redemption' and the drummer 'Mark Zonder' who participated to the project <'Enzo and the Glory Ensemble' and who recently released an album with 'Gary Wehrkamp', 'If It’s Real', are all three parts of the adventure. After the first listening, I found myself in a well-known universe that I particularly like because the references that come to mind mix rock and progressive metal and as regards the references to progressive rock, we cannot refrain from thinking of the major bands of this style from the beginning of the progressive. In addition, the album is well supplied because it offers us 12 compositions for an hour and eleven minutes of listening.

The first entirely instrumental composition 'Memory Corners' is the illustration, because, it consists of two energetic parts with accessible melodic lines which frames an aerial section with a guitar solo reminiscent of 'Carlos Santana' sonorities, then 'Stranded', on the same diagram, shows a powerful face with a beautiful vocal demonstration of 'Vincenzo Nocerino' and a calmer instrumental central part with a magnificent intervention of acoustic guitar. Follows 'Genius Loci', which takes us into a beautiful neo-progressive piece with 'Vincenzo Nocerino' who has the same vocal theatricality as 'Paul Manzi' of 'Arena', then, the instrumental 'Spectral Regrowth' with 'Mark Zonder' (which is the drummer of most instrumental titles) is split into two parts, a first in a 'Floydian' atmosphere which hardens in the second part with much stronger guitar riffs and 'Stains', which is one of my favorites of the album, highlights the sensitivity of 'Michele Guaitoli' on vocals and unfolds a beautiful melody with again magnificent 'Gilmourian' guitar solos. The album continues with the instrumental 'Give Them Space' which starts at one hundred miles an hour with a raging rhythm section of 'Mark Zonder' and, after two minutes softens the subject for a melancholy section with a felted guitar in a slow tempo and a heady melody, then, 'Shades of the Night', the first part of which is a magnificent ballad in which we let ourselves be lulled by the singing of 'Vincenzo Nocerino', accelerates the tempo in the second part to prepare a final faster, and, we then let ourselves get carried away by 'The Psychopathology of Everyday Things', in a 'Floydian' melody with a crescendo which gradually brings more and more saturated guitar tones. Next comes 'Noble Art' in which 'Ray Alder' is invited for a composition in which the emotional cursor goes up a notch, the duet between the American and 'Vincenzo Nocerino' being magnificent, then, the eponymous title of the album is typical of a powerful and melodic progressive metal with a kind of continuous tension throughout the title and with a guitar solo worthy of the name in the second part which makes us touch the stars. And the album ends in style with, first of all, 'A Tale Of Dissidence' with a new magnificent vocal performance of 'Vincenzo Nocerino' in an admirable crescendo and a grand finale, 'Vito F. Mainolfi', sending us once again in seventh heaven with his guitar, then we find 'Ray Alder' and 'Vincenzo Nocerino' on 'Shades Of The Night' in a final bouquet with a title of tremendous emotional intensity, whether vocally but also thanks to sublime keyboard and guitar solos.

In summary, this first album of this new project 'Pentesilea Road' is a very nice surprise 2021, each title alternating different atmospheres ranging from melodic rock to progressive metal which makes it an opus of great variety and which intends 'Pentesilea Road' to an audience loving a progressive mixing different styles and having beautiful melodic lines which are immediately tamed, and which release a great emotional force...

Line Up / Musicians

Vito F. Mainolfi (Guitar, Bass), Ezio Di Leso (Piano, Keybords), Vincenzo Nocerino (Vocal), Alfonso Vincenzo Mocerino (Drums) + Guests : Ray Alder (Vocal), Mark Zonder (Drums), Michele Guaitoli (Vocal)

Artist : Autumn's Child

Album : Angel's Gate

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 01-04-2021

After a very successful first album released in early 2020 (see here), Swedish 'Mikael Erlandsson' continues his regular rhythm of an album every year and we say to ourselves that for all these years, how does he manage to always offer us the same level of compositions which are tasted with happiness with each release of album because, this 'Angel's Gate' is still a summary of what we have been able to do best in the field of melodic rock and hard-rock for about four decades. We are therefore once again immersed in reminiscences of formations that have been part of rock history since the 80s with melodies that we immediately appropriate and I am sure that if you listen to any song of this opus for breakfast, it will get you in shape for the whole day. We are therefore embarked between energetic hymns and this from the first track, 'Where Angels Cry' which delivers us an addictive first chorus and, whatever the atmosphere of the song of this album, we can only note that 'Mikael Erlandsson' always has this talent of melodist and always finds the melodic lines which hit the mark at the first listening. In all energetic and catchy ttitles like 'Aquarius Sky' and its remarkable little break highlighting the guitarist 'Pontus Åkesson' or 'Don't Say That Is Love' and his sounds close to 'Alan Parsons Project' or 'Love Is Not an Enemy' in a class-filled AOR close to 'Survivor' or 'The Dream of America' and its 'Supertramp' pianos (a little nod to 'Take The Long Way Home') or even 'Straight Between The Eyes' with its chorus straight out of the 80s, everything is done to have a great time. And when the tempo slows down, 'Mikael Erlandsson' gratifies us with three sentimental ballads ('A Tear from the Sky' and its 'Queen' intonations, 'Don't Ever Leave Me' reminiscent of 'Billy Joël' and its admirable guitar solo and 'Your Words' which is the kind of track that we play on a loop) with very classic melodies but which, once again, are formidably effective and take us back to the best melodies of the 70s/80s (I added these 3 titles in my Spotify playlist of 'Rock/hard-rock/metal ballads').

In summary, with his project 'Autumn's Child', 'Mikael Erlandsson' continues to offer us a digest of the best of the melodic rock of the 70s / 80s which in fact, even if it will not revolutionize the style, one of the most prolific Swedes in this style and this 'Angel's Gate' is yet to be savored without moderation...

Myprogmusic reviews of the albums of 'Mikael Erlandsson' projects :
Last Autumn's Dream – Level Eleven – 2015
Last Autumn's Dream – Paintings – 2016
Last Autumn's Dream – In Disguise – 2017
Last Autumn's Dream – Fourteen – 2018
Autumn’s Child – Autumn’s Child – 2020

Line Up / Musicians

Mikael Erlandsson (Vocal, Keybords), Claes Andreasson (Piano), Pontus Åkesson (Guitar), Jona Tee (Keybords), Robban Bäck (Drums), Johan Strömberg (Bass)

Artist : Tusmørke

Album : Nordisk Krim

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 03-04-2021

After 'MEER', It is still a Norwegian formation which is the honor with 'Tusmørke' and their last album 'Nordisk Krim', the violinist 'Åsa Ree' of 'MEER' also being present on this opus. With 'Tusmørke', the surprise is total with each release because their last album was a kind of collection of folk songs for Norwegian children but, they had also accustomed us to take us in quite dark stories which had labeled them in black metal (tag when you hold us !!). Regarding 'Nordisk Krim', we are immersed in the history of bodies found in Danish peatlands, but the music is rather psychedelic with all the sonic oddities that we could find in this style when it first appeared in the 60s.

The album is well supplied with 10 compositions for an hour and twenty minutes of music, the tracks ranging from a few minutes to long developments, the longest flirting with 18 minutes. The first half of the album immerses us in sounds from the 60s / 70s with multiple sound effects, the melodies being accessible at first listening with for example the introductory title 'Ride The Whimbre!' with its vintage keyboards, the short and catchy 'Age of Iron Man' or the esoteric 'Dog's Flesh' which unfolds a strange and unreal melody. Then come two long tracks with 'Moss Goddess' and 'Black Incubation' which together symbolize the beginning of the progressive with an extravagant psychedelic, the first in a slow addicting tempo with vocals in the form of an incantation and the second taking us into folk tones to 'Jethro Tull', the flute supporting this more pastoral side while keeping sounds of vintage keyboards again bringing us back to the psychedelic and the beginning of the 'Floyds'. The suite offers us two tracks sung in Norwegian (all the others being sung in English) which both have a traditional folk vibe with heady melodies, the first 'Et Moselik' and its marked and haunting rhythm, the second 'Heksejakt' much more playful. And to finish, '(The Marvelous and Murderous) Mysteries of Sacrifice' takes us on a progressive epic that mixes all the ingredients that we could find in this album : the lightness of folk accentuated by the flute, vocals alternating songs hypnotic and delirious, haunting repetitive melodies and organ-sounding keyboards from early psychedelic albums (my reference album being 'Ummagumma' from the 'Floyds' released in 1969).

In summary, the Norwegians of 'Tusmørke' release a very dense album that takes us back to the psychedelic period of the early 60s to the beginning of the 70s and which, given its length, requires several listenings for impregnate with it what destines' Nordisk Krim' to a certainly more restricted audience, adept of this style which contributed to the rise of progressive rock some fifty years ago...

Line Up / Musicians

Benedikt "Benediktator" Momrak (Vocal, Bass), Kristoffer "Krizla" Momrak (Flute, Vocal), Haugebonden Gode Gullstein (Keybords), Åsa Ree (Violin), Martin "Hlewagastir" Nordrum Kneppen (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Lee Kerslake

Album : Eleveteen

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 08-04-2021

After 'Ken Hensley', this second review reports tribute to the 'Uriah Heep' drummer, 'Lee Kerslake', who passed away in September 2020 and had his heart set on doing to release his first solo album after serving as 'Uriah Heep' official drummer for 35 years. Despite the illness, 'Lee Kerslake' continued to fight for this album to come out and 'Eleveteen' features 8 compositions written or co-written by Lee encapsulating his entire musical journey in musical styles ranging from bar singing with 'Port And A Brandy' to catchy and melodic rock with 'Take Nothing for Granted' or 'Home Is Where The Heart Is' through ballads with unstoppable melodies that never leave you like 'Celia Sienna' which brings us back to the great tradition of the English song (see the beautiful video above) or 'Where Do We Go From Here' and 'You May Be By Yourself (But You're Never Alone)', very classic but filled with such a beautiful emotion . We can also note this magnificent cover of 'Carole King', 'You've Got A Friend', dating from 1971 or even this last entirely instrumental title simply called 'Mom' which pays homage to mothers and whose bluesy guitar sounds exude a touching melancholy. In summary, 'Mick Box' must be feeling a bit lonely after the passing of his two longtime partners 'Lee Kerslake' and 'Ken Hensley', with bassist 'Trevor Bolder' having left us in 2013 (his solo album, 'Sail The Rivers', planned at the time has been finally released at the end of 2020 with covers of 'Uriah Heep' and three new compositions) but, thanks to Mick, the spirit of 'Uriah Heep' continues to endure, the last album 'Living the Dream' dating from 2018 which is the best way to continue to pay tribute to his friends who have accompanied him for so many years...

Artist : Walk The Walk

Album : Walk The Walk

Release Date : 26-02-2021

Added : 07-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

Walk The Walk is a new American group formed by 'J. Adler' on vocals and multi-instrumentalist 'Paul Alfery' who provides the guitars, bass, drums and keyboards sections. Not necessarily known to the general public, they nevertheless have a great experience behind them, 'J. Adler' having worked with famous metal artists like 'David Ellefson' (Megadeth), 'Ray Luzier' (David Lee Roth), 'Tim Gaines' (Stryper) or 'Larry "Bones" Dennison' (Lita Ford, Dio) and 'Paul Alfer', on his side, collaborated with artists like 'Zakk Wylde', 'Steve Vai' or 'Tony Lommi'. They offer us an album which, I quote them, "is not going to reinvent the wheel, because we just play the music that we like". That is good, because their album of the name of the group is made to have a great time and, despite being tagged in AOR, they bring us back to a melodic and energetic hard rock of the 80s with of course references to a certain 'Def Leppard' as we can realize from the first track 'Heaven's on It's Way Down' with these characteristic choirs. The opus contains 10 for 35 short minutes and each composition is direct and effective from the first listening in a radio format not exceeding 4 minutes. In short, the Americans of 'Walk The Walk' are releasing an album taking us back a few decades with catchy melodies which intends it for an audience that has gone through the 80s in music with artists like 'Def Leppard', 'Bon Jovi' or even 'Journey'...

Line Up / Musicians

J. Adler (Vocal), Paul Alfery (Guitar, Bass, Keybords, Drums)


Album : Black & White

Release Date : 22-02-2021

Added : 05-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Bite The Bullet' is an English formation that was born in the 80s from the meeting of singer/songwriter 'Mick Benton' and drummer 'Graham Cowling' with an eponymous album released in 1989. Since then, nothing, until the reissue in 2019 of their first album which relaunched them, and 2021 sees the release of a new album with 13 compositions that take us back to the 80s with groups like 'Foreigner', 'Alan Parsons Project' or 'Asia' and even, for example in 'Falling', like 'Barclay James Harvest' period 'Ring Of Changes '. We therefore navigate between catchy compositions like 'Rock to Stones', 'Black & White', 'More Than This' or even 'Bring It On' but also in lighter titles like 'Falling', 'Starlight', 'The Lonely Road' or even the beautiful ballad 'Under the Veil'. In short, the Englishmen of 'Byte The Bullet have stayed true to their original style by offering us a very nice new album and if you like an AOR between pop and rock without any aggressiveness and with catchy melodies, you should definitely buy into to this new album 'Black & White'...

Line Up / Musicians

Mick Benton (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords, Bass), Graham Cowling (Drums)

Artist : Temperance

Album : Melodies of Green and Blue

Release Date : 19-02-2021

Added : 21-03-2021

After their last album 'Viridian' released at the beginning of 2020, the Italians of 'Temperance' are releasing again a short album of around thirty minutes in an exercise that symphonic metal groups often do, namely to revisit their compositions in acoustics (the latest being 'Infinitum 'with their latest album 'Chapter I Revisited'). But the little extra of this opus is that two of these eight compositions are unpublished and start the album in an atmosphere far removed from symphonic metal and we are the subject of two beautiful videos (for 'Paint the World', see above, and for 'Evelyn', see here), the other six being taken entirely from 'Viridian', all the titles of the last album having very accessible and catchy melodic lines which lent themselves well to reinterpretations in acoustics. So, no need to make unnecessary comparisons because each version brings its share of emotion and to take an example, you can view the two videos of 'Start Another Round' in version electric et acoustic which for my part bring me as much pleasure one than the other. In short, as I am used to quoting this sentence from 'Alfred de Musset' : "whatever the bottle, provided you have drunkenness", everyone will find their favorite version and this latest album in acoustic Italiens shows that when the talent is there, whatever the style, the result is always of quality...

Line Up / Musicians

Alessia Scolletti (Vocal), Michele Guaitoli (Vocal, Piano), Marco Pastorino (Guitar, Vocal), Luca Negro (Bass), Alfonso Mocerino (Drums)

Artist : tRKProject

Album : The Little Prince

Release Date : 19-02-2021

Added : 22-03-2021

I already told you about the 'Ryszard Kramarski' albums with the two interpretations, one of 'Karolina Leszko' and the other of 'Dawid Lewandowski' which debuted with the last album 'Kay & Gerda' and which was followed by the resumption of 'Sounds from the Past', then that of 'Mr Scrooge' (whose I reviewed the original album here) and it is now a thing made with the wonderful album 'Music Inspired By The Little Prince' that Richard has revisited. For those who already know him, it offers us an opportunity to immerse ourselves once again in this admirable symphonic and progressive 'Floydienne' atmosphere with the magnificent story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 'as a backdrop and for others who would have missed this album released in 2017, to discover 'tRKProject' which offers us with each release an imaginative and melodic progressive rock that takes you on a wonderful journey filled with harmony and serenity...

Line Up / Musicians

Ryszard Kramarski (Keybords, Guitar), Karolina Leszko (Vocal), Dawid Lewandowski (Vocal), Marcin Kruczek (Guitar), Krzysztof Wyrwa (Bass), Grzegorz Fieber (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Whitesnake

Album : The BLUES Album

Release Date : 19-02-2021

Added : 23-03-2021

I referred quite recently to the British hard-rock group 'Whitesnake' with the releases, on one hand of the last album d'Inglorious' and, on other hand, their guitarist's latest album 'Joel Hoekstra' and a compilation of the English band has been released in the last months containing of their best songs revisited, remixed and remastered in three different albums that classify the compositions in different genres: first released in June 2020 'The ROCK Album' (the white one), then followed 'Love Songs' (the red one) in November 2020 which, as its name suggests, offers the lightest compositions of the band and, finally, the third album has just been released in early 2021 'The BLUES Album' (the blue one) which puts forward titles which are directly inspired by the style which has spawned all styles of modern music, I named the blues but let 'David Coverdale' talk about it : "It is difficult to find the words for show how deeply they are linked to my soul. But for me, the 'blues' is a nice word that describes emotional expression ... feelings, whether feelings of sadness, loneliness, emptiness ... but also those that express great joy, party and dance, sex and love !!!. In short, the 'Beatles' had their red and blue albums and it is now the turn of 'Whitesnake' to offer us their 'Red, White And Blues' trilogy with its three beautiful albums which should join the ideal collection of any amateur and any hard-rock lover through the last four decades because the English have been one of the most prolific bands since their first two albums' Snakebite 'and 'Trouble' both dating from 1978...

Line Up / Musicians

See 'wikepedia'

Artist : Angeline

Album : We Were Raised on Radio

Release Date : 19-02-2021

Added : 03-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Angeline' is a Swedish formation which has already more than thirty years of existence but which only released a first LP in 2010 with 'Confessions', then, 'Disconnected' followed in 2011 and it took another 7 years for the third 'Shadowlands'. 'We Were Raised on Radio' which was released in February 2021 is therefore their fourth studio recording and, as you can imagine given their nationality, they offer us melodic hard-rock that smells good the 80s and this with 10 compositions made tailor-made to have a very pleasant time. The melodic hits follow one another starting with 'Helpless' which sends us an unstoppable first melody, then 'Closer' continues in an AOR that puts you in shape all day with a chorus that never leaves you, just like the two following compositions 'My Heart Won't Let You Go' and 'Raised On Radio'. The suite does not weaken and continues in heady melodic lines and the semi-acoustic ballad 'Come What May' is the perfect illustration. In short, no need to add more, the Swedes of 'Angeline' offers us a very beautiful album filled with addictive melodic jewels that will make happy among fans of melodic hard-rock of the 80s...

Line Up / Musicians

Jocke Nilsson (Vocal, Guitar), Janne Arkegren (Guitar), Uffe Nilsson (Bass), Tobbe Jonson (Drums)

Artist : Pixels & Sound

Album : Sentimentalism

Release Date : 18-02-2021

Added : 22-05-2021

I take you in the country of Kangaroos with the progressive rock band 'Pixel & Sound' which was created by 'Reece Denton' and 'Daniel Mckittrick' and who released their first studio recording 'Sentimentalism' in February 2021 with various guests including keyboardist 'David Eaton' and guitarists 'Douglas Skene' and 'Dean Bennison' of the neo-progressive group 'Anubis'. In a style between pop and rock, 'Sentimentalism' is a concept album based on the personal story of 'Reece Denton' who tells us about his journey after losing his father when he was about to enter adulthood and it is 13 tracks very disparate by their length which goes from one minute to a long development of more than 20 minutes for a total duration of 80 minutes, which are offered to us.

After the short and quiet acoustic 'Take Flight' which begins the opus with beautiful vocal harmonies, 'Break' unveils a light atmosphere that brings us back to the progressive of the 70s with a catchy melody, then, 'Good Morning Melody' continues with acoustic guitars which lead the dance in a relaxed atmosphere, the vocal section being well in keeping with the playful and limpid style. With 'Kinshipwreck', the tone hardens slightly with a more marked progressive search, the calm sung part in a slight crescendo arriving at the end of the title after a long energetic instrumental part, then, 'Five Months Later' shows a melancholy face with a magnificent melody which is very pleasant and which offers beautiful vocal sections filled with emotion and instrumental accompaniments bringing a very particular sweetness (very beautiful guitar solo 'Gilmourien' in the second part). Follows 'The Sleeping Song' which continues in this way with a slow tempo in the first part which is completely in phase with the title and which delivers beautiful alternations of intensity and rhythm in the second part, then, 'The Release' takes over with a short, uncluttered composition, the acoustic guitar/vocals duo exhaling a remarkable sweetness. Change of scenery with 'Cancer', more energetic with a less easily accessible construction, then, 'Eye of the Storm' returns to a calmer atmosphere by highlighting the singer 'Sarah Vella' in a semi-acoustic ballad with a crescendo in the second part which falls on the end of the title. 'Growing Symptoms' then continues with its 21 minutes and develops a progressive composition with drawers, the changes of intensity and tempo being numerous which obviously requires a few successive listening to draw all the richness, the last part being a pure moment of happiness with this final crescendo which progresses slowly and which falls back quietly in a magnificent duet acoustic guitar/voice. The end of the album takes us through the short instrumental 'The Uplift' with beautiful deep bass, then, 'Opportunity' which is again a remarkable track which offers a magnificent vocal duet between 'Reece Denton' and 'Sarah Vella' which brings a real sweetness and whose final guitar solo of 'Douglas Skene' (which I would have liked even longer) is very beautiful, the whole giving off a very particular emotion, and, the spotify version adds a rather short bonus track, 'Like in the Movies', which deploys a pleasant crescendo with a tempo that gradually accelerates, the vocals of 'Reece Denton' becoming more and more powerful.

In summary, the Australians of 'Pixels & Sound' are releasing a very good album which combines an imaginative progressive with accessible melodic lines and remarkable vocal harmonies and 'Sentimentalism' should appeal to a whole audience who loves soft and melancholic atmospheres in this style of music...

Line Up / Musicians

Reece Denton (Vocal, Guitar, Drums), Daniel Mckittrick (Guitar, Mandolin, Chœurs), Anthony Stewart (Bass, Guitar, Chœurs) + Guests : Sarah Vella (Vocal, Chœurs), David Eaton (Keybords, Guitar, Chœurs), Douglas Skene (Guitar, Chœurs), Dean Bennison (Guitar), Robert James Molding (Chœurs), The Sentimental Voices (Chœurs)


Album : Dark Horizons

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 17-03-2021

We left 'Ian Jones' with his new project 'Chasing The Monsoon' with a wonderful first album 'No Ordinary World' released in 2019 and in the meantime, on July 6, 2020, we thought that the Welshman would relaunch the 'Karnataka' project with the video of 'Forever' with new singer 'Sertari', latest album from 'Karnataka', 'Secrets Of Angels', already dating from 2015 and which had made a lot of noise at the time but which had been the last album with 'Hayley Griffiths' (which will soon be releasing a CD / DVD of a concert given in Holland at the 'Prog Frog Festival' to be pre-ordered on his site here). But finally, 'Dark Horizons' is the first studio recording of a new project featuring the singer 'Agnieszka Świta' of Polish origin and who lives in London and who had released 'Sleepless', in 2014, the rest of the line-up consisting of prestigious guests with, 'Steve Hackett', 'Troy Donockley' ('Nightwish'), drummer 'Craig Blundell' who participates in various progressive rock projects with renowned artists such as 'Fish', 'Steve Hackett', 'John Mitchell' ou encore 'Steven Wilson', saxophonist 'John Helliwell' from 'Supertramp' and the two artists who joined' Ian Jones' in 2018, keyboardist 'Gonzalo Carrera' and guitarist 'Luke Machin'. In short, beautiful people to interpret the beautiful melodies of 'Ian Jones' because, make no mistake about it, this new project necessarily looks like 'Karnataka' and 'Chasing The Monsoon' and ultimately, whatever the name of the group, the important thing is to put yourself in the ears some 'Ian Jones' music, knowing that whoever the performers are, there is a great chance that we will have a wonderful time listening to the Welshman's compositions.

And off we go with 'The Lighthouse' which welcomes us with the sounds of waves and bells and which slowly embark us on an intense symphonic journey that gives goose bumps from the first chords, 'Agnieszka Świta 'making a beautiful first vocal performance and the interventions of 'Steve Hackett' sending us directly to seventh heaven : we can't help but draw a parallel with 'Karnataka' with the composition 'Secrets of Angels', the kind of track that we play in a loop and which releases an immense emotional force. Follows 'Bloods on Your Hands' which was the subject of a beautiful video (see above) and which mixes oriental intonations with a melody that is incrusted straight into the head, then, 'Edge of Darkness' continues in this melodic atmosphere at will with magnificent alternations of tempos and 'Lullaby' softens the subject with a magnificent ballad in which we abandon ourselves completely while savoring the sweet song of 'Agnieszka Świta' to which are added the magical interventions of 'Troy Donockley'. With 'Twice', always very soft, we stay on the little cloud on which we had been deposited from the start and we continue to let ourselves be lulled by the aerial song of 'Agnieszka Świta'. The following compositions show us the enigmatic 'Heretics and Prophecy', with intonations mixing oriental sounds and Celtic influences, then, the melodic 'Sanctuary', a little more classical with very beautiful vocal harmonies (pity this final fading out), the symphonic 'Black Angel' in which 'Agnieszka Świta' shows a lower register and the delicious 'Sign of Infinity', with jazzy intonations, which unfolds a languid tempo with a magnificent saxophone solo by 'John Helliwell' (which I would have liked longer), these titles all having catchy melodic lines. And to finish in style, 'Dark Horizons' slowly spreads its wings on a new addictive melody and joins by its beauty the first track' The Lighthouse 'by offering us 11 minutes of pure happiness highlighting all the artists (again 'Agnieszka Świta' and 'Steve Hackett' transport us and 'Craig Blundell' knows how to bring this rhythm section while restraint) and with remarkable instrumental arrangements (special mention to the accompaniments of the strings).

In summary, this new project of 'Ian Jones' is still a great success and, we are now used to every release, whether it is 'Karanataka', 'Chasing The Monsoon' or now 'ILLUMINAE', the talented Welshman's paw is still present and we tell ourselves that the name of the project fits perfectly with this style of music, luminous and filled with delicacy, which means that 'Dark Horizons' has entered directly into my list of essential albums of 2021...

Line Up / Musicians

Agnieszka Świta (Vocal), Ian Jones (Bass) + Guests : Craig Blundell (Drums), Gonzalo Carrera (Keybords), John Helliwell (Saxophone), Luke Machin (Guitar), Steve Hackett (Guitar), Troy Donockley (Bagpipe, Flute)

Artist : Sirenia

Album : Riddles Ruins & Revelations

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 13-03-2021

Casually, the symphonic metal band 'Sirenia' released their tenth album 'Riddles Ruins & Revelations' and at the same time celebrated their 20-year career, after the very good 'Arcane Astral Aeons' dating from 2018. Alongside the Norwegian leader' Morten Veland ', we still find the two Frenchmen' Emmanuelle Zoldan 'on vocals and' Nils Courbaron 'on guitar, to which the drummer' Michael Brush 'joined in 2019. With 11 compositions for 52 minutes of listening they offer us a symphonic metal with always accessible melodic lines and remarkable vocal harmonies but, like other formations of this style, without going to the rather radical change of 'Within Temptation', this opus shows a certain modernity, the keyboards evolving, here and there, towards the use of more electronic sounds.

This is what the first track 'Addiction No. 1' attests with its electronic introduction and its marked rhythm quite quickly joined by sampled choirs that recall the grandiose side of symphonic metal, this mixture working perfectly, then , 'Towards An Early Grave', a very catchy track, offers us a memorable melody and could serve as the start of concerts (when it will be possible !!) and 'Into Infinity' adds a good dose of electro atmosphere in a very lively, thus showing once again this desire to modernize. Change of scenery with 'Passings Seasons' which returns in the verses to the more classic symphonic with one of the highlights of this album, the kind of title that fully suits 'Emmanuelle Zoldan' who can indulge in a few masterful flights, then , 'We Come to Ruins' continues in this mix between saturated guitar riffs and electro in which the growls of 'Morten Veland' are more present contrasting with 'Emmanuelle Zoldan' who admirably modulates her voice according to the intensity of the moment. With the catchy and melodic 'Downwards Spiral', as they had already done in the album 'Dim Days Of Dolor', the duo 'Emmanuelle Zoldan'/'Joakim Næss' works perfectly and the choirs are much more playful and move away from the symphonic, which should make an essential composition in concert with its heady chorus, then, 'Beneath the Midnight Sun' is the most contrasted title between the older 'Sirenia', more gothic, 'Morten Veland' having a good place in this title and the evolution brought in this album, the modernity of the rhythm and electro sounds being finally quite close to the last 'Within Temptation'. The last third of the album features a vigorous 'The Timeless Waning' with beautiful alternations of intensity between muscular and saturated guitar riffs and calmer verses, then 'December Snow' with a new heady melody still in the line of 'Within Temptation' and the hit 'Curse of Mine' which should be all the rage in concert, the last track being a beautiful cover of the French 'Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop', better known as 'Desireless' with, like you must imagine, a slightly more muscular interpretation than the original and interpreted very beautifully by 'Emmanuelle Zoldan'.

In summary, 'Sirenia' continues to offer us an energetic symphonic metal which, little by little, takes on a little more modern allure while keeping melodic lines always very catchy and, if you liked the last 'Within Temptation', you should also enjoy with 'Riddles Ruins & Revelations'...

Line Up / Musicians

Emmanuelle Zoldan (Vocal), Morten Veland (Vocal, Guitar, Bass, Keybords), Nils Courbaron (Guitar), Michael Brush (Drums) + Guest : Joakim Næss (Vocal)

Artist : Inglorious

Album : We Will Ride

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 14-03-2021

And it is one more album on the 'Inglorious' counter after 'Ride to Nowhere' in 2019 and, the less that we can say, is that the compositions of this latest baby of the Englishs is still a powerful melodic hard-rock bomb that gets you in shape for a whole day. This new album also saw a major line-up change with new guitarists 'Dan Stevens' and 'Danny Dela Cruz' and a new bassist 'Vinnie Colla', vocalist 'Nathan James' and drummer 'Phil Beaver' remaining at the helm of the ship.

And from the start, from the first three tracks, we get to the heart of the matter and these are three powerful and melodic hits (let's not forget the massive and very dynamic production) which are offered to us and which take us with their devastating riffs, 'Nathan James' continuing to throw us great interpretations with always that little resemblance to 'David Coverdale' of 'Whitesnake'. With the two following titles 'Eye of the Storm' and 'Cruel Intentions', we say to ourselves that we will have a right to recover, but the two acoustic introductions are deceptive and the chorus of the first accelerates the rhythm and becomes much more powerful and the second is a melodic mid-tempo, certainly more moderate than the first three titles but remains nevertheless quite powerful with some more moderate inflections in the second part. It is with 'Misery' that we find this resemblance so characteristic of 'Nathan James' with the singer of 'Withesnake' and this talent to move us in the quieter passages, then, 'Do You Like It' comes back to classic hard-rock borrowed from a good dose of blues that makes you sweat and sticks to your skin and 'He Will Provide' welcomes us with an introduction close to 'Van Halen' and unrolls a devastating new track with an alternation of masterful tempo which gives a very particular force to this title and which offers us an admirable guitar solo in the second half. The end of the album scrolls through the melodic mid-tempo 'We Will Meet Again', certainly classic but so effective, a 'God of War' which acts as a ballad in some parts which alternate with others much faster and the eponymous title of the album which is ultimately the closest composition to a ballad, even if the tempo remains quite high in some places.

In summary, this new album from the English of 'Inglorious' is still a total success and, even if for my part it lacks more quiet titles like the magnificent 'Wake' from the first album or 'Glory Day' of the last one, the renewal of the line-up certainly brings more spontaneity and freshness, all this being transcended by an irreproachable production which should make 'We Will Ride' one of the major hard-rock releases of the 2021 year...

Line Up / Musicians

Nathan James (Vocal), Dan Stevens (Guitar), Danny Dela Cruz (Guitar), Vinnie Colla (Bass), Phil Beaver (Drums)

Artist : 3.2

Album : Third Impression

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 15-03-2021

After the admirable 'The Rules Have Changed' that 'Robert Berry' had released in 2018 and which plunged us back into the atmosphere of the 70s with the magnificent performances of the late 'Keith Emerson', 'Third Impression' is the new album of the American who continues to bring to life this bond between the three artists 'Keith Emerson', 'Carl Palmer' and himself materialized by a first album in 1988, called 'To The Power of Three'. So, after listening to this last album, when the last notes of 'Never' resonate in our ears, we are caught in a great nostalgic whirlwind and the emotion is at its height because this last composition was the last that the two artists co-wrote and we tell ourselves that the book of project '3' closes with his last keyboards sounds so characteristic of Keith that grafted themselves in the depths of our memory a few decades ago (listen to the solo in the fifth minute). But let's come back to this album which offers us a patchwork of genres scattered throughout the 10 tracks for a listening pleasure of almost an hour.

As if we were going on a trip to visit different countries with each their culture, 'Third Impression' is a journey made of a patchwork of musical styles and 'Top of the World' opens the ball with a progressive maze in which is good to get lost with changing rhythms, intensities that range from semi-acoustic parts to heavy rock and always imaginative keyboards. 'What Side You're On' is a powerful and direct track that is in the mood of some ELP compositions at the time of 'Black Moon', then 'Black Of Night' takes us through all kinds of sounds, rock/folk in the first half and which after a majestic flight on keyboards is calm for a quieter section, the piano having replaced the grandiose keyboards, the finale returning to the original theme. With 'Killer of Hope', we find a more muscular and direct track, then 'Missing Piece' with its introduction with exotic guitar sounds, unfolds a beautiful melody in which 'Robert Berry' is put forward and shows all his talent of singer and guitarist. What follows offers us the little melodic gem 'A Bond of Union' which still rises the emotional cursor with this very beautiful piano passage in the second part of the title, then, 'The Devil of Liverpool' takes us on a tempo stirring Latin countries while having remarkable contemporary keyboard sounds, the little break in the middle of the title being very beautiful and with 'Emotional Trigger', we go to completely addictive jazzy regions and we find ourselves in the middle of a jazz club with a piano that rocks us languidly. 'A fond Farewell' brings us back to imaginative progressive rock from the 70s with of course this parallel with ELP in the instrumental parts, the sung parts rather making me think of 'Genesis' or 'Yes' and the album ends with 'Never' which a composition taking us back a few decades and which, beyond the emotion it arouses, is a real progressive mosaic in which we let ourselves be guided in a sound labyrinth made of equally imaginative sections one that the other and which should make happy in any amateur and any amateur of progressive.

In summary, as its predecessor had been, this latest album from 'Robert Berry' is still a very nice tribute to 'Keith Emerson' but is also a remarkable testament to a varied progressive exploring different styles with a modern sound which should appeal not only to ELP 'fans but also to a whole audience that has bathed in the progressive of the 70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Robert Berry (Keybords, Vocal, Guitar, Bass), Keith Emerson (Composing, Arrangements)

Artist : Joel Hoekstra's 13

Album : Running Games

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 16-03-2021

I told you not so long ago about 'Whitesnake' with the last album of 'Inglorious' and it is the turn of 'Joel Hoekstra', guitarist of 'Whitesnake' to release a second studio recording with his project 'Joel Hoekstra's 13', his first album 'Dying to Live' dating from 2015. And when we see the line-up, Joel doesn't is not surrounded by the less good artists of the hard-rock/metal scene since we find 'Derek Sherinian') on keyboards (ex 'Dream Theater' and now member of 'Sons Of Apollo'), singer 'Russell Allen' (among others 'Symphony X', 'Allen/Olzon' and 'Ayreon'), singer 'Jeff Scott Soto' in luxury backing vocals (among others 'W.E.T.', 'Octovision', 'Sons Of Apollo' but also in solo), bassist 'Tony Franklin' (among others 'Unruly Child' and 'Rob Moratti') and drummer 'Vinny Appice' (Among others 'Black Sabath', 'Dio', 'Tara Lynch' and 'Stagma') to which we can add the singer 'Chloe Lowery' of 'Trans-Siberian Orchestra'. In short, a cast of hell for a very good album between hard-rock and heavy metal which makes us scroll through titles all as catchy as each other with a sample of what we could do best in the fifty last years. Certainly, 'Joel Hoekstra' will not revolutionize the genre but listening to the powerful 'Finish Line' with sharp guitar riffs or the melodic 'I'm Gonna Lose It' with sounds of 'Rainbow' or 'Hard To Say Goodbye' with its catchy chorus taking us back to the 80s until the bonus track 'Lay Down Your Love' which has nothing to envy to the rest, we spend a wonderful time listening to this 'Running Games'. And when the rhythm softens, 'Joel Hoekstra' also has a gift for addictive mid-tempo compositions that are the melodic 'How Do You', 'Rech the Sky' with their chorus that begs to be taken up in choirs or 'Lonely Days', tagged melodic rock, or the classic hard-rock titles but so effective that are 'Heart Attack' and 'Fantasy' or the deceptive 'Cried Enough for You' who alternates a slow tempo of ballad with much faster parts, without forget the beautiful eponymous ballad of the album.

In short, this new baby of the guitarist of 'Whitesnake' is a very good album that we enjoy from the first to the last composition with addictive melodies in an energetic mood, all this being interpreted in a masterly way (but how could it could be otherwise with this beautiful bunch of artists!) and if you are fans of classic hard-rock through the ages, you can go there with your eyes closed, this 'Running Games' is for you...

Line Up / Musicians

Joel Hoekstra (Guitar), Derek Sherinian (Keybords), Russell Allen (Vocal), Jeff Scott Soto (Choirs), Tony Franklin (Bass), Vinny Appice (Drums) + Guests : Dave Eggar (Cello), Chloe Lowery (Choirs), Katie Kresek (Violin, Alto), Lenny Castro (Percussions)

Artist : Durbin

Album : The Beast Awakens

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 18-03-2021

'James Durbin' is a young American singer and guitarist who was known on the show 'American Idol' and who started releasing solo albums from 2011 with 'Memories of a Beautiful Disaster', three more albums followed and the last one 'Homeland' date of 2018. To this we can add that he was the singer of 'Quiet Riot' on their last two studio albums. But unlike his last solo album 'Homeland' which was mainly acoustic in which he returned to the sources of American song, this latest album 'The Beast Awakens' from his new project 'Durbin' is well turned towards heavy metal and, for the occasion, he is accompanied by 'Barry Sparks' on bass, 'Mike Vanderhule' on drums and has invited American artists within this case no less than eight guitarists. We are therefore embarked on an hour of good heavy metal which takes us back to the 80s and which is shared between a majority of energetic compositions with muscular guitar riffs such as 'The Prince of Metal', 'Kings Before You', 'The Beast Awakens', 'Calling Out For Midnight' and 'Rise to Vahalla' but also other titles between rock and melodic hard-rock like 'Into The Flames', 'Evil Eye', 'Necromancer' or even the catchy 'By the Hornes'. Other compositions more mid-tempo while remaining powerful like 'The Sacred Mountain' or 'Riders on the Wind' allow to vary the atmospheres and the ballad, very beautiful, is not forgotten with 'Battle Cry'.

In summary, even if it is not going to revolutionize metal, 'James Durbin' is releasing a quality album which offers us a series of compositions all as addictive as each other and 'The Beast Awakens' should please to a heavy metal loving audience that takes us back decades ...

Line Up / Musicians

James Durbin (Vocal, Guitar), Barry Sparks (Bass), Mike Vanderhule (Drums) + Guests : Chris Jericho (Vocal), Earl Salindo (Keybords), Paul Grimm (Keybords), Phil Demmel (Guitar), Jon Yadon Jr (Guitar), Marc Putnam (Guitar), Dylan Rose (Guitar), Nick Gallant (Guitar), Ellison Locke (Guitar), Jeremy Locke (Guitar), Ryan Heggum (Guitar)

Artist : Kreek

Album : Kreek

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 19-03-2021

At the same time as ('James Durbin'), singer 'Antony Ellis' (singer also of 'Bigfoot') released his first album under the project name of 'Kreek' in which he invited guitarists 'Nick Clarke' and 'Dan Collict', bassist 'Lee Andrews' and drummer 'Seb Sweet'. They offer us 10 tracks that take us back a few decades starting with the mid-tempo 'At The Bottom Of Hell' with all the ingredients of a good classic hard-rock : a melody that is immediately tamed, a lively rhythm on which we immediately want to stomp, a singer who, without forcing his voice, offers a remarkable vocal performance and, icing on the cake, a final guitar solo worthy of the name highlighting 'Nick Clarke'. And it continues in this electric atmosphere with an energetic 'Missiles', a huge 'Meet Your Maker' with its addictive rhythm and its heady chorus, followed by 'Million Dollar Man' of a formidable efficiency (which was the subject of a video, see above). Same atmosphere with the groovy 'One Voice' and its Arabian sounds, then the catchy and melodic 'Man On My Together' with a new heady chorus. The end of the album does not weaken and offers us 'Stand Together' that the British of 'Led Zeppelin' would not have denied, 'Down' N Dirty 'with a new rhythm that gives you an irresistible desire to move and' Get Up 'which, as its title suggests, is not the kind of song that we listen to wisely without moving, the opus ending with the ballad of the album, always very classic but which allows you to recover smoothly and beautifully from all the previous melodic hits.

In short, like the last album of 'James Durbin', the English of 'Kreek' offer us an album filled with good hard-rock which takes us back to the golden age of this style which intends 'Kreek' to a whole audience which loves the great hard-rock formations of the 70s...

Line Up / Musicians

Antony Ellis (Vocal), Nick Clarke (Guitar), Dan Collict (Guitar), Lee Andrews (Bass), Seb Sweet (Drums)

Artist : The Pretty Reckless

Album : Death By Rock and Roll

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 20-03-2021

The Americans of 'The Pretty Reckless' return with a new album, 'Death By Rock and Roll', after 'Who You Selling For' already dating from 2016. It must be said that a lot of things have happened since the last opus, not necessarily very easy to overcome with the death of the singer and guitarist 'Chris Cornell' in 2017 during the American tour with 'Soundgarden' in which 'The Pretty Reckless' opened, and then, the death of their friend and producer 'Kato Khandwala'. And it is precisely with a tribute to their producer that the album begins in a communicative rock energy which gives the opportunity to the singer 'Taylor Momsen' to show her rocker side with an explosive interpretation. In the same style, we can also quote 'Only Love Can Save Me Now' while alternating between power and relaxation with the two guests of brands of 'Soundgarden', 'Kim Thayil' and 'Matt Cameron', 'And So It Went' with the participation of six-string players 'Tom Morello', 'My Bones' with its devastating riffs in a tribal rhythm, or even the heavy mid-tempo 'Witches Burn', an atmosphere that can also be found on 'Turning Gold'. But 'The Pretty Reckless' is also the tradition of American country song with the last two tracks from the album 'Rock n Roll Heaven' and 'Harley David' but also calmer atmospheres filled with great emotional intensity like the magnificent '25' in which 'Taylor Momsen' refers to the year of her 25th birthday with this little nod to the 'Beatles' in the second part of the track or the popular 'Got So High' or the very nice acoustic ballad 'Standing At The Wall'.

In summary, 'The Pretty Reckless' gets better album after album and this last baby is incredibly effective, and as I often take my references in the rock of the seventies, the Americans are a bit for me the 'Pretenders' of the 2020 years, their style not being so different and 'Taylor Momsen' remind me of 'Chrissie Hynde' in the 70s/80s...

Line Up / Musicians

Taylor Momsen (Vocal, Guitar), Ben Phillips (Guitar), Mark Damon (Bass), Jamie Perkins (Drums) + Guests : Kim Thayil (Guitar), Matt Cameron (Drums), Tom Morello (Guitar)

Artist : Ailafar

Album : State of Mind

Release Date : 12-02-2021

Added : 01-06-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Melodic rock/hard-rock albums from the 1st half of 2021

'Ailafar' is a melodic rock band based in Thessaloniki, Greece. After 'Long Way To Imagery' in 2011, 'No Limits' in 2015 and 'Hearbeat' in 2017, 'State Of Mind' is the fourth studio recording of the band. The concept of the album is about the things that matter in life, about finding our self and the strengh to go on, motivation, Love, the values, the appreciation of what we have in every moment, the values that we lose in this modern world we're living into. It features 12 brand new songs in an refined AOR style with accessible melodies highlighting the female singer 'Tatiana Economou' who is as much at ease in energetic compositions as in quieter ones.

Line Up / Musicians

Tatiana Economou (Vocal), John Tzortzis (Guitar), Vangelis Valis Papageorgiou (Keybords), Kostas Mavroudis (Bass), Stergios Kourou (Drums, Percussions) + Guests : Dean Mess (Vocal), Mariangella Arapoglidou (Vocal), Tzeni Luna (Vocal), Tasos Duce (Drums), Apostolis Mousias (Drums), Tanja Harkonen (Chœurs)

Artist : Relayer

Album : Broken Branches

Release Date : 11-02-2021

Added : 12-03-2021

'Relayer' is an American formation created in the 90s by childhood friends 'Tom Burke', 'Tim LaRoi' and 'John Sahagian' and who, at the time, had recorded several studio albums ('A Grander Vision' in 1994, 'The Testing Fashion' in 1996 and 'Last Man On Earth' in 1998). Returned for the first time in 2007 with 'Façade', it was not until 2019 that the fifth album soberly baptized 'V' is out and it's with their latest album 'Broken Branches' dating from the beginning of February 2021 that I discovered them. Their influences are diverse, and they evolve between pop and rock tinged with progressive that takes us back to the 70s with melodic lines that tame quite quickly with formats of titles between 4 and 7 minutes.

'Paradigm' begins the album in a quiet atmosphere with some guitar riffs a little more intense, reminiscent of formations of the 70s such as 'Wishbone Ash' or 'The Who', then, 'Hear Me Out' continues in this atmosphere and on this track, the rhythm is typical of those of 'Alan Parsons Project'. With 'Turnaround', we are right in a light pop and it could be a cross between the 'Beatles' and 'ELO' and 'Protectors' is a beautiful semi-acoustic ballad close to 'BJH'. What follows continues in this nostalgic atmosphere of this golden period of elegant and imaginative rock with the catchy 'Something's Changed', or the addictive 'Mouse in the Mille' and its marked rhythm on which one lets oneself embark on the way of a 'Another Brick In The Wall' of the 'Floyds', or the quiet 'Ghost' on which we abandon ourselves completely, then, 'Halfway Home' brings a slightly more progressive aspect, first of all by its length but also by its more complex structure, orientation that we also find in the title which follows 'Solstice Suite', entirely instrumental. And the album ends in a very beautifully way with, first of all, 'Way Too Long' which offers us piano sounds like 'Supertramp' and keyboards taking us back to the 70s, and finally, a melodic and intense 'Twilight' with a remarkable 'Floydien' guitar solo and a very nice vocal performance by 'John Sahagian'.

In summary, the Americans of 'Relayer', without making the buzz on the internet (and that's a shame), release a very good album influenced by pop and rock sprinkled with progressive, taking us back a few decades backwards and highlighting talented artists, a modern sound and a remarkable production, which destines 'Broken Branches' to an audience loving pop/rock music with melodic lines that we appropriate immediately and which is inherited from the major formations of the seventies...

Line Up / Musicians

John Sahagian (Vocal, Keybords), Tom Burke (Bass), Tim LaRoi (Guitar), Bill Kiser (Drums)

Artist : Downes Braide Association

Album : Halcyon Hymns

Release Date : 05-02-2021

Added : 08-03-2021

'Chris Braide' and 'Geoff Downes' release new album after remarkable live 'Live In England' released at the end of 2019. They took advantage of the current situation which deprived them of concert at the end of February 2020 to record this new opus and they offer us a well supplied album exceeding the listening hour with 12 compositions. In a peaceful progressive rock, they mix influences drawn from the big names of the progressive of the 70s and each composition has been refined to offer us beautiful melodies that are savored with pleasure and that make you want to replay it once finished.

From the start with 'Love Among the Ruins', we embarked on a sweet journey on a small cloud with a subtle and radiant pop atmosphere with the sweet vocals of 'Chris Braide' and the magnificent guitar interventions of 'Geoff Downes', the sounds reminiscent of formations like 'Barclay James Harvest' or 'Alans Parsons Project', then 'King of the Sunset' continues in this warm atmosphere with a ballad whose melody is immediately embedded in the head, the vocal harmonies being very beautiful, 'David Longdon' being invited for the occasion and forming a magnificent duet with 'Chris Braide' and which offers an instrumental finale 'Floydien' with an acoustic guitar with fast chords punctuated by two powerful highlights. With 'Your Heart Will Find the Way', we continue with a new melodic gem and it is not by chance that it was chosen as a single (see video here, then, with 'Holding the Heavens', we come back to the 'BJH' moods. We continue our sunny trip with the short 'Beachcombers' in a atmosphere close to 'Yes' (moreover, the cover of the album is completely in the continuity of those of the albums of 'Yes'), the magnificent ballad 'Warm Summer Sun' in which we let ourselves be carried away by the addictive melody, just like the following title 'Today', this time in the line of 'Elton John', the piano accompaniment bringing a nice softness to the whole and the guitar solo in the second part being a real happiness. The continuation of the album offers us the semi-acoustic 'Hymn to Darkness' highlighting the beautiful voice of 'Chris Braide' and beautiful vocal harmonies, the entailing 'She'll Be Riding Horses' with a new heady chorus taking us back to the melodies of 'Asia' in the 'Aura' period, and we find the same quiet atmosphere of 'Hymn to Darkness' in the short 'Late Summer'. The end of the album ends with 'Remembrance' and 'Epilogue', 'Remembrance', of nearly 12 minutes which is not necessarily the title which brings the greatest variety musically because the same theme is repeated throughout of the title and it is therefore the lyrics that take a preponderant place and which evoke memories of the summer of 1976 with an alternation between the singing of 'Chris Braide' and the narration of 'Barney Ashton Bullock', 'Epilogue' being the small vocal comma not necessarily essential closing this very beautiful album.

In summary, the duo 'Chris Braide' and 'Geoff Downes' release a very endearing album that takes us on a delicious journey made of a soft and refined pop that takes us a few decades back and 'Halcyon Hymns' is recommended to all those who like the references mentioned above, to which artists such as 'Steve Hackett', 'Genesis', 'Camel' or even 'Renaissance' could be added...

Line Up / Musicians

Chris Braide (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Geoff Downes (Keybords) + Guests : Ash Soen (Drums), Andy Hodge (Bass), Dave Bainbridge (Guitar), David Longdon (Vocal), Marc Almond (Vocal), Barney Ashton Bullock (Narration)

Artist : Transatlantic

Album : The Absolute Universe : Forevermore

Release Date : 05-02-2021

Added : 09-03-2021

When I told you about 'Neal Morse' for the last time, it was early 2021 with the live 'Jesus Christ the Exorcist' at the Morsefest 2018 and as far as 'Mike Portnoy' is concerned, it was for the live of 'Flying Colors' at the end of 2020 ('Neal Morse' is also a member). As for 'Roine Stolt', it was for the last 'The Flower Kings' also at the end of 2020, and let's end with bassist 'Pete Trewavas' who released with 'Marillion' in early 2020 the album 'With Friends from the Orchestra' but who also participated in the admirable project of 'Robert McClung', 'Black Swallow' dating also from 2020. In short, no need to draw you a picture, 'Transatlantic' is a great group formed by a quartet of madmen of music who delight us with each release of their different projects and who each have a CV as long as the arm.

So, we can legitimately not blame them if this new baby 'The Absolute Universe' comes out only seven long years later 'Kaleidoscope', especially since it is not one but two albums available to us with a short version of about an hour 'The Breath of Life' and a long version 'Forevermore' of an hour and a half, 'Neal Morse' defending the first format and 'Roine Stolt' the second, 'Mike Portnoy' then offering to produce each their own opus. And as they never do anything by halves, their notion of versions goes far beyond condensing long into short but is a different approach with different compositions in terms of lyrics (up to the names of the titles) but also in terms of interpretations which may be different. I will not do an analysis of the differences because it is up to the public to find the version that best suits them, but it is certain that all amateurs of great progressive sagas will undoubtedly prefer the long version which is a straightforward sequel without interruption (just the blank after 'The World We Used to Know', you have to change CD !!). I will not detail all the titles either, given the density of each composition which would considerably lengthen this column (there are already so many good reviews on the Internet) but I will simply talk about the two strong points that marked me by listening to the long version: first of all, we find all the influences of five decades of progressive rock throughout these 90 minutes and each moment brings us back to a known universe and we remember all these artists who have marked our musical journey from the 'Beatles', 'King Crimson' or 'Yes' until the respective formations of these four artists with of course 'Flying Colors', 'Neal Morse Band', 'The Flower Kings' and 'Marillion', passing through all the major formations that may have existed in the meantime. And from that point of view, this album could represent a testament to what the progressive has done best since its creation with this patchwork of styles that they have managed to put together. The other point I would like to underline is that beyond the talent of our four artists as composers, they are also talented musicians and singers individually but show in this kind of production a real teamwork each bringing its stone to the building, whether at the level of the magnificent guitar solos of 'Roine Stolt' or the flights of 'Neal Morse' on keyboards or the admirable groove of 'Pete Trewavas' without forgetting the ever so inventive rhythm section of' Mike Portnoy 'and I do not speak either of the vocal performance of each one (even' Pete Trewavas' pushes the song in the title 'Solitude') and the vocal harmonies of ensemble often giving goosebumps, all this being sublimated by a production irreproachable.

In short, no surprise for this last baby of the super group 'Transatlantic', we still touch the stars of the progressive and we still let ourselves embark on an intense musical journey that you have to take your time to tame to get out of it all the richness which makes 'The Absolute Universe' a new album to add to the ideal discotheque of any amateur and all progressive rock lover through the ages...

Line Up / Musicians

Roine Stolt (Vocal, Guitar, Percussions), Mike Portnoy (Vocal, Drums), Neal Morse (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords), Pete Trewavas (Vocal, Bass)

Artist : Everdawn

Album : Cleopatra

Release Date : 05-02-2021

Added : 10-03-2021

'Everdawn' is born from the ashes of 'Midnight Eternal' which remained drowned in the mass of symphonic metal formations (and which did not leave a great impression on me in concert in 2018 at Z7 in support of 'Therion') until the trio 'Richard Fischer', 'Boris Zaks' and 'Daniel Prestup' relaunch a new project called 'Everdawn' with a new line up since the Russian soprano 'Alina Gavrilenko' (alias 'Snowmaiden') who immigrated to Canada at the age of 15 with her parents and who built a solid reputation as a lyrical metal singer, and bassist 'Mike Lepond' from 'Symphony X' who has its own project projet 'Whore of Babylon', are now part of the adventure. With these two talented recruits, the American combo released a first album 'Cleopatra' which should quickly make people talk about it in the sphere of symphonic metal and beyond.

Despite the title 'Cleapotra' which prefigures a concept album, the compositions are not entirely linked to the Egyptian queen but cover different rather disparate subjects. 'Ghost Shadow Requiem' opens the album in a powerful and fast symphonic style and we discover the vocal register of 'Alina Gavrilenko', high enough perched, who has all the assets to compete with the tenors of the genre, starting of course with the soprano the most famous of the symphonic metal world, I named 'Tarja' and we can also note a good place left for a first masterful guitar solo of 'Richard Fischer'. Moreover, the following track 'Stranded in Bangalore', very catchy and with an addictive melody, could very well be part of the Finnish repertoire and we already let ourselves dream of a duet between the two singers, then, the song title, with breaks in tempos and an oriental atmosphere make it an original composition mixing symphonic and progressive. With 'Your Majesty Sadness', the guest of honor 'Thomas Vikström' of 'Therion' forms a very beautiful vocal duet with Alina and the melodic lines of the chorus never leave us, then, 'Infinity Divine' returns to more classical melodic metal and 'Pariah's Revenge', alternating intensities et tempos is another composition mixing melodic metal, power, symphonic and neo-classical, 'Alina Gavrilenko' continuing to dazzle us with her perfect vocal mastery, just like in the powerful and fast 'Lucid Dream' which follows and which continues to mix power, neo-classical (very beautiful guitar solo) and symphonic. The last part of the album offers us a catchy 'Heart of Lion', the short instrumental 'Toledo 712 AD' bringing a pinch of progressive, the fast 'Rider of the Storm' in which 'Alina Gavrilenko' still shows all the range of her vocal palette and finally 'The Last Eden' which ends the album with a melodic jewel whose melody enters directly in your head and my little regret is that, with all these admirable compositions, we did not have to put between the ears one or two ballads while 'Alina Gavrilenko' would certainly do wonders in quieter moments (listen 'My Winter Kiss').

In summary, this new project 'Everdawn', at the border of different types of metal is a nice surprise and should rather quickly be known thanks, first of all, to 'Alina Gavrilenko' which brings a singing technique impeccable and a beautiful sensitivity but also thanks to very talented musicians, all this with a flawless production, which makes 'Cleopatra' an album intended, first of all, for fans of symphonic metal with a lyrical singer but not only because 'Everdawn' merges different types of metal which could well reach an even wider audience...

Line Up / Musicians

Alina Gavrilenko (Vocal), Richard Fischer (Guitar, Vocal), Boris Zaks (Keybords), Mike LePond (Bass), Daniel Prestup (Drums) + Guest : Thomas Vikström (Vocal)

Artist : The Prog Collective

Album : Worlds on Hold

Release Date : 05-02-2021

Added : 11-03-2021

Looking at the bassist's extensive guest list of 'Yes', 'Billy Cherwood' in the last album of his project 'The Prog Collective', I had the impression of making an inventory of parts of the artists of the progressive scene that I follow regularly because if you look for each name in myprogmusic, there must not be many that have released albums since 2016 that are not in one of my reviews. This last opus of the American is in fact cut into two parts, first 6 original compositions and then 4 revisited covers of different artists for the short version and 7 for the long version. As for the original compositions, the eponymous track from the album opens the album by featuring 'Todd Rundgren' and violinist 'L. Chankar 'in an atmosphere that brings us back to classic 70s progressive rock and, then 'Two Trajectories' which was the subject of a single, continues in this delicate atmosphere with 'Geoff Tate' (member of 'Operation: Mindcrime' on vocals and 'Bumblefoot' ('Sons Of Apollo') on guitar. In the same style, the suite features 'Jon Davison' (the singer of 'Yes'), Patrick Moraz (among others keyboardist of 'Yes' and of 'The Moody Blues'), 'Jan Akkerman' (who founded 'Focus'), the singer 'Sonja Kristina', the guitarist 'Steve Hillage' (among others member of 'Gong'), 'Arjen Anthony Lucassen' and 'Steve Hackett'. As for the covers, the short version offers four, all classics that have been around the world with interpretations quite far from the originals : 'Solsbury Hill' by 'Peter Gabriel', 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' by 'Procol Harum's', 'Eyes In The Sky' de 'Alan Parsons' and 'Nights in White Satin' from 'The Moody Blues', in short another step back in time filled with nostalgia...

Line Up / Musicians

Billy Sherwood (Vocal, Guitar, Bass, Keybords, Drums) + Guests : Todd Rundgren (Vocal), Lakshminarayana Shankar (Violin), Geoff Tate (Vocal), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guitar), Jon Davison (Vocal), Patrick Moraz (Keybords), Jan Akkerman (Guitar), Sonja Kristina (Vocal), Steve Hillage (Guitar), Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Vocal), Steve Hackett (Guitar), Roine Stolt (Vocal, Guitar), Graham Bonnet (Vocal), Derek Sherinian (Keybords), Joe Lynn Turner (Vocal ), Martin Barre (Guitar), David Clayton-Thomas (Vocal), Geoff Downes (Keybords), John Wetton (Vocal), Alan White (Drums), Tony Kaye (Keybords), David Johansen (Vocal)

Artist : Raven Sad

Album : The leaf and the wing

Release Date : 01-02-2021

Added : 07-03-2021

'Raven Sad' is an Italian progressive rock formation who, after a period of inactivity in the 2010s, released their fourth studio recording 'The leaf and the wing', 'Samuele Santanna', the guitarist and songwriter of the group having relaunched his project in 2018, their last album 'Layers Of Stratosphere' already dating from 2011. It is therefore only 10 long years after that the Italian combo with a new line-up offers us 8 compositions, most of them being long developments which leave a good place for the instrumental parts, in a psychedelic style, 'Samuele Santanna' having the same feeling as a certain 'David Gilmour'.

After the short instrumental 'Legend # 1' which introduces the album with a slow tempo and with a first guitar solo 'Floydien', 'The sadness of the raven', of almost 10 minutes, quietly unfolds a beautiful melody supported by the soft voice of 'Gabriele Marconcini' and by some piano chords alternating with instrumental parts in which we are rocked by the electric guitar of 'Samuele Santanna', then 'City Lights And Desert Dark' continues in this delicate atmosphere which can remind in some places 'Barclay James Harvest' and which also presents in the middle of the title welcome changes of tempo and intensity, the guitar solo which follows being a pure delight as well as the final falling in a few piano and guitar notes accompanied by the whispered song of 'Gabriele Marconcini'. With the long 'Colorbox' development that follows, the Italians offer us progressive rock mixing various influences in which we can recognize formations like 'Marillion',' IQ ',' Genesis' or even 'Saga', walking through a sound maze made of different sections in which it is good to get lost, then the second part of the album continues in this progressive style which requires to linger there to draw all the richness with three other long tracks which are 'Approaching The Chaos', entirely instrumental, 'Ride the tempest' which takes us on an absolutely delicious new journey and 'Absolution Trial' which offers remarkable variations of intensity and beautiful instrumental parts, the album ending with the musical theme of 'Legend' which reminds me of some instrumental sections d 'Airbag'.

In summary, The Italians of 'Raven Sad' are releasing a very good progressive rock album that gets better as you listen to it and 'The leaf and the wing' is recommended for audiences who like long developments progressive in a refined style with real instrumental sections...

Line Up / Musicians

Gabriele Marconcini (Vocal), Samuele Santanna (Guitar), Fabrizio Trinci (Keybords, Choirs), Marco Geri (Bass), Francesco Carnesecchi (Drums)

Artist : Journey

Album : Rollin' On (Live 1981)

Release Date : 31-01-2021

Added : 25-08-2021

Album de la playlist 2021 : Concerts released in the second quarter of 2021

After the 'John Mellencamp' '80s concerts, I come back to the live from 1981 of 'Journey', already known to fans but which appeared on spotify in January 2021. The Americans, who in the 70s/80s were one of the flagship melodic rock groups now called AOR, do haven't released many albums after this first period because the last studio recording 'Eclipse' already dates from 2011 but are coming back to the fore with the lineup consisting of 'Arnel Pineda' on vocals, 'Neal Schon' on guitar, 'Jonathan Cain' on keyboards, 'Randy Jackson' on bass, 'Jason Derlatka' on keyboards and 'Narada Michael Walden' on drums (new single 'The Way We Used To Be' released at the end of June 2021). This live recorded during their American tour in 1981 after the release of the album 'Escape' makes us relive these concert atmospheres with, of course, a recording not necessarily at the top for this period and the set list obviously contains several titles from their last opus of the time with a certain 'Don't Stop Believin' (the new line up performed it remotely in 2020 ici) but also the essentials of the band from the end of the 70s with for example 'Any Way You Want It'. In short, hearing a new album from the Americans, this concert is a beautiful journey through time for all fans of 'Journey' and allows you to listen to this group which largely contributed to the rise of American melodic rock in the 70s and 80...

Line Up / Musicians

Steve Perry (Vocal), Neal Schon (Guitar, Choirs), Ross Valory (Bass, Choirs), Jonathan Cain (Keybords, Guitar, Choirs), Steve Smith (Drums, Percussions)

Artist : Steven Wilson


Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 01-03-2021

Always in search of new musical horizons, 'Steven Wilson' is releasing a new album which should still share the fans because I quote Steven (nice interview from 'La Grosse' here : "Initially, I really wanted to compose an album that could reflect the style of 2020… My first solo albums were very nostalgic: 'To the Bone' reflected the 80s, 'The Raven That Refused to Sing' the 70s. I wanted an album anchored in the present, modern and new. To achieve this, I had to detach myself of the traditional combo : guitar, bass, drums and relying more on electro.".

And indeed, the least we can say is that this new baby of the Englishman is entirely turned towards modern sounds and for all who are attracted by traditional rock instruments, 'THE FUTURE BITES' is indeed at the antipodes of his other projects and may shock some but, if we go back and explore its impressive musical career, we say to ourselves that each release brings its share of surprises and, that for anyone open to different musical styles, he has been one of the most active musical pioneers since the beginning of the 90s. We are therefore navigating a new 'Wilsonian' universe made up of synthesizers and rhythm machines with a criticism of our consumer society and of this lack of real communication due to social networks which isolate us a little more every day, and this begins, after the hushed introduction 'Self', with 'Unself', which sets the scene for this modern electro universe with a chorus repeating the same musical phrase and with light and playful female choirs, then, 'King Ghost', while keeping a decidedly contemporary aspect with an electronic rhythm, highlights the head voice of 'Steven Wilson' in a vaporous atmosphere. '12 Things | Forgot 'brings us back to a more conventional' Steven Wilson 'with all the pop influences of the 70s Englishman coming out in a composition that could have found its place on a 'Blackfield' album. With 'Eminent Sleaze', I have the impression of hearing a mix between the current electro sounds and melodic lines of the 80s disco and 'Man Of the People' returns to an aerial pop where we find the Wilson more intimate and we are finally not so far from some compositions of 'To The Bone'. The longest track of the album arrives with 'Personal Shopper' which was the subject of a first single and which made discover this new universe of the Englishman and is a kind of rather improbable meeting between the electro and the progressive one in which the consumer society is scrutinized and in which 'Elton John' makes a most singular appearance as he lends his voice to spell out a shopping list. With 'Follower', even if the electronic side is still very present, we return to familiar ground with the use of the electric guitar and 'Count of Unease' concludes the album in a way offset from the rest with a atmospheric composition as if 'Steven Wilson' already wanted to tell us that the stylistic path taken on this album will be called into question again on its next releases.

In summary, in my last column, I compared 'Steven Wilson' to 'David Bowie' and this new album confirms me again in this idea that he is the Bowie of the 2000s with his different faces that make a perpetual researcher of new musical horizons and, even if some will not manage to adhere to this new opus, 'THE FUTURE BITES' shows a resolutely modern facet but also quite confusing which will make it one of the albums certainly the most controversial of the English but who also shows that he will undoubtedly continue, for our greatest happiness, to amaze us in the future by making us discover other musical universes...

Line Up / Musicians

Steven Wilson (Vocal, Guitar, Keybords, Percussions), David Kosten (Programmation), Fyfe Dangerfield (Vocal, Choirs), Nick Beggs (Bass), Michael Spearman (Drums), Bobbie Gordon (Vocal, Choirs), Crystal Williams (Vocal, Choirs), Wendy Harriott (Vocal, Choirs) + Guests : Elton John (Vocal), Rotem Wilson (Vocal)

Artist : Elegy Of Madness

Album : Live at Fusco Theater

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 02-03-2021

The same day, two concerts of symphonic metal were released and this first concert concerns the Italians of 'Elegy Of Madness' who, after their last album 'Invisible World' released in early 2020, recorded 'Live at Fusco Theater' with the orchestra 'Giovanne Orchestra Jonica' following a musical competition organized by the Department of Culture of Taranto. The compositions of this short concert of a little over an hour highlight the last two studio recordings, the last album being well represented because it is practically played in its entirety. We therefore find the catchy titles in a classical but very effective symphonic metal with the contribution of the orchestra and sampled choirs which densify the whole and we can quote for example 'Egodemon', 'Believe' 'New Era', ' Es', 'Apnoea' (video above), 'Fil Rouge' or even the final track 'Devine Obsession' but also calmer moments like the mid-tempo 'Nobody Cares', the ballads' Memories River' and 'Reborn' as well as the instrumental 'To Esperia' devoted entirely to the orchestra. In short, 'Live at Fusco Theater' is a very pleasant concert to listen to and which will undoubtedly be appreciated by all lovers of symphonic metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Anja Irullo (Vocal), Tony Tomasicchio (Guitar, Growls), Marco Monno (Guitar), Luca Basile (Cello), Larry Ozen Amati (Bass), Francesco Paolo Caputo (Drums) + Guests : Giovanne Orchestra Jonica

Artist : Victoria K

Album : Essentia (Live Isolation Concert)

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 02-03-2021

The second symphonic metal live released on January 29th concerns the Australians of 'Victoria K' who released a first album 'Essentia' in April 2020 and which was recorded during isolation period and which was the subject of a DVD release. Given the very limited discography of this new formation, we find all the compositions of 'Essentia' that I had detailed when it was released and the atmosphere is not necessarily that of a concert, the public does not being present which mainly destines this album for fans who can get the DVD...

Line Up / Musicians

Victoria K (Vocal), Sheri Vengeance (Vocal), Julia Mammone (Guitar), Marty Kawaler (Bass), James Davies (Drums)

Artist : Final Gravity

Album : Surviving Humanity

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 03-03-2021

'Final Gravity' is an American formation that I discovered with their album 'Surviving Humanity' released at the end of January 2021 but which already has more than ten years of existence with a first eponymous album of the group dating from 2009 here and an EP '4 Pack' dating from 2010 which saw the integration of the singer 'Melissa Jane Dichiera' to complete the line-up of the four founding members. Their style mixes rock and progressive metal with dense compositions that you discover little by little, listen after listen.

'New Day' opens the album in an smooth atmosphere which makes us discover 'Melissa Jane Dichiera' who has a strong vocal identity that she masters perfectly and in which the alternations between vocal parts and instrumentals are very well dosed which allows 'Michael Clark' to offer us a remarkable guitar solo, then, 'Sincerely Satan' changes of style by hardening the tone in a more direct rock style with a first half which gradually takes power, Melissa having this facility to modulate her voice according to the intensity. With 'Hollow Days', after a calm first part which slowly rises in power, saturated guitar riffs introduce a much more energetic second part leaving room without transition for a break to return to the starting theme in a much quieter atmosphere, then, 'Hello, Hello (Bleeding Sadness)', well placed in the middle of the album is a ballad with a magnificent heady melody. The second part of the album continues with the upbeat 'Leaving' which has a swaying rhythm close to 'Led Zeppelin' and an admirable instrumental section in the second part of the title, then, it is again a change of mood with 'No Love', quite contrasted, between a first part in which we let ourselves be lulled by the delicate voice of Melissa and a second part which, after a rhythm section with early 'Floyds' sounds reminiscent of 'Ummagumma' sequences, hardens the tone with a radical change of singing that becomes much more energetic. As for the last two tracks, 'My Eternity' and 'Poenix', the mix of direct rock and much more progressive parts made up of rhythmic alternations and intensity clearly illustrate all the peculiarity and originality of this formation.

In summary, this new album from the Americans of 'Final Gravity' shows how far they have come since their debut and offers compositions that take on their full dimension after several listenings which destines 'Surviving Humanity' to an audience loving a modern progressive music navigating between rock and metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Melissa Jane Dichiera (Vocal), Michael Clark (Guitar, Keybords, Choirs), Charles Mumford (Bass), John Chominsky (Drums) + Guest : Paula Yoo (Violin)

Artist : Souls Of Diotima

Album : Janas

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 04-03-2021

After 'The Sorceress Reveals - Atlantis' in 2016, the Italians of 'Souls Of Diotima' continue with their last album 'Janas' to tell us stories from Mediterranean mythology with narratives about Janas, magical creatures from the island of Sardinia. We find their original and diversified style fusing melodic, symphonic and progressive metal which makes Italians a special formation in the metal musical landscape and this new baby still brings its share of good surprises but is certainly more direct than its predecessor was thanks to melodic lines that are tamed at first listen.

This variety is illustrated from the first three tracks : first of all, 'The Black Metal' opens the ball in an epic and powerful atmosphere with a first catchy melody with oriental sounds and imposing choirs, then, 'Sleep Demon' takes over with much more modern tones, a catchy rhythm, a heavy chorus with marked bass close to techno and a remarkable guitar solo by 'Fabio Puddu', and finally, 'The Princess Of Navarra' is a power very classic ballad but so effective with this memorable section of the guitar solo followed by majestic male choirs preparing a finale with deep bass. With the title song, the power and symphonic mix highlights remarkable vocal sections whether with the growls of 'ntonio Doro' responding to 'Claudia Barsi' or the choirs accompanying a heady melody, then, 'The Dark Lady' puts back a layer with a new melodic jewel which can recall certain tones of 'Delain' and which could make some envious in the best symphonic metal formations. The second part of the album does not weaken and offers us 'Ichnos Superhero', the perfect melodic and catchy title to end a concert in style, the powerful 'My Roots' with its remarkable rhythmic changes which make it a typical example of this talent that Italians have to appropriate several types of metal, then, without transition, 'Maty' which takes us on a powerful slow tempo with sumptuous choirs and melodic lines borrowed from Mediterranean culture, a new melodic hit ' Mediterranean Lane 'catchy with Antonio Doro's bass' leading the dance and finally, last but not least, 'Sherden', which beautifully ends the album with admirable choirs, the guitar solo with a magic feeling and a refrain that never leaves us.

In summary, this latest album from the Italians of 'Souls Of Diotima' is a total success with compositions all as remarkable as each other and if you like a powerful and melodic metal with hymns that are encrusted immediately in your head, it's a safe bet that you will play 'Janas' repeatedly in your favorite playlist...

Line Up / Musicians

Claudia Barsi (Vocal), Fabio Puddu (Guitar), Antonio Doro (Bass, Growls), Giorgio Pinna (Drums)

Artist : Soen


Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 05-03-2021

It is again Swedes who return to the front of the stage but this time, not in melodic hrd-rock but in progressive metal and we can say that with each release of an album, 'Soen' sets the bar a little higher and that this latest opus 'IMPERIAL' is what we can do best in this style and after the very good 'Lotus' released in 2019 that I had discovered quite late, the Swedes made use of the period of confinement, their tour obviously being canceled due to the health crisis, to write and record their fifth album with at the key, certainly their best production.

First of all, we can no longer limit 'Soen' to progressive metal because the atmospheres deployed in 'IMPERIAL' mix rock and metal with this talent to make coexist within each title of the differences of intensity and tempo while keeping melodic lines that are accessible, an approach that can be found, even if the style is decidedly different, among the English of 'Threshold'. 'Lumerian' which begins the album is the perfect illustration of this with its explosive guitar riffs which coexist with much more relaxed parts and with a chorus which immediately grafts itself into the head. You can also store titles like 'Deceiver', 'Dissident' or even 'Antagonist' (see the very original video here) in the same style in which the intensity breaks are numerous, the rhythm section contributing remarkably to these multiple changes. But 'Soen' are also compositions with slower tempos and, we can mention the magnificent 'Monarch' (see video above) and 'Modesty' which, even if the atmosphere remains rather heavy overall, bring lines melodic which softens the whole. We find this lighter side of the Swedes with ballads that are 'Illusion' or 'Fortune', the first approaching a progressive rock hovering with magnificent interventions of 'Gilmourian' guitar, the second and placed in last position bringing an emotional level at its peak with this final text which ends on a positive note with 'Joel Ekelof' which sends us a poignant message : "And one day I know you’ll understand that your happiness depends on you". Because it is also necessary to underline that the texts of 'Soen' are particularly turned towards the crisis which we live with in the background this shocking cry concerning the deprivation of liberty which transforms the Man whose very essence of the life is to take risks, in a person gradually losing their humanity by simply surviving, 'Martin Lopez' emphasizing that beyond music: "we will always be a group that has the will to fight for freedom and all the important things in life : the people and the oppressed".

In summary, no need to draw you a picture, this latest Swedish baby of 'Soen' is in every way admirable (I did not mention the remarkable talent of each member of the group and the production that is irreproachable) and will undoubtedly be one of the major releases of the year 2021 in progressive, all styles combined, which makes 'IMPERIAL' an album that should very quickly reach the ideal CD collection of any fan and any fan of rock and progressive metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Joel Ekelof (Vocal), Cody Ford (Guitar), Lars Åhlund (Guitar, Keybords), Oleksii “zlatoyar” Kobel (Bass), Martin Lopez (Drums)

Artist : Art of Illusion

Album : X Marks the Spot

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 06-03-2021

Just a week later 'W.E.T.' and 'Creye', Swedes can hide others with this new project 'Art of Illusion', name given by our two protagonists the singer and keyboardist 'Lars Säfsund' and the guitarist and keyboardist 'Anders Rydholm' respectively of 'Grand Illusion' and 'Work Of Art' which explains the name of the group with a word borrowed from each of their respective formations. No need to write a long review, especially since it risks being a copy and paste of that of 'Creye' a week earlier : we find ourselves in a land known to all those who love an AOR reminding us of rock 80s melodic and the references I cited for 'Creye', are also valid for 'Art of Illusion'. With a host of guests, most of them guitarists, they therefore offer us 12 compositions that can be enjoyed pleasantly and this from the first two catchy titles 'Wild and Free' and 'Run' with memorable choruses but some songs come out of the classic pattern in bringing a remarkable variety to the whole: the melodic 'My Loveless Lullaby', with its alternating tempos, offers us a pinch of progressive, the short 'Waltz For The Movies' with its theatrical atmosphere close to 'Queen' is an interlude original, atmosphere that we also find in 'Let The Games Begin' and 'A Culinary Detour', the latter flirting again with what 'Freddy Mercury' could have done in his solo career, the rest being divided between catchy compositions like the melodic jewels 'Let The Games Begin' and 'Rampant Wildfire' and the remarkable ballads that are '4Am' and 'Race Against Time' closing the album in a beautiful way.

In summary, 'Art of Illusion' is a new project which will delight all AOR fans and which adds to the already impressive list of AOR formations but which risks quite quickly placing itself in the peloton. head in this style of music if 'Anders Rydholm' continues, as he did in this 'X Marks the Spot', to compose melodies of this quality...

Line Up / Musicians

Lars Säfsund (Vocal, Keybords), Anders Rydholm (Guitar, Bass, Keybords) + Guests : Daniel Rydholm (Guitar), Frank Nilsson (Drums), Jay Graydon (Guitar), Kristian Larsen (Guitar), Muris Varajic (Guitar), Pelle Holmberg (Guitar), Per Svensson (Choirs), Tony Paoletta (Steel Guitar)

Artist : MEER

Album : Playing House

Release Date : 29-01-2021

Added : 02-04-2021

I come back to an album released at the end of January 2021 and which is the work of the Norwegian band 'MEER' which already has a dozen years of existence and which only releases their second studio recording 'Playing House'. The line-up mixes the traditional electric instruments of progressive rock and adds strings with violinist 'Åsa Ree' and violist 'Ingvild Nordstoga Eide', the vocal section being shared between siblings 'Johanne Margrethe Kippersund Nesdal' and 'Knut Kippersund Nesdal' (the latter having participated to the Norwegian program of' The Voice 'in 2017 - 'Norges beste stemme' in Norwegian). They offer us a mix of pop and rock mixing symphonic, folk and progressive in atmospheres offering beautiful melodies but, make no mistake, with sought-after constructions, the diversity of instruments bringing this richness to each composition and even if the length of each title does not exceed 7 minutes, this opus improves listening after listening, discovering previously unexplored corners.

'Picking Up The Pieces' start the album with sumptuous vocal harmonies and remarkable instrumental arrangements, this first track reminds me of certain atmospheres of 'Mostly Autumn', then, 'Beehive' continues but with more powerful passages alternating with others quieter and 'All At Sea' offers us a more stripped down semi-acoustic atmosphere and we let ourselves be lulled by Knut's soft voice, Johanne joining him halfway by enchanting us with her delicate vocal harmonies that we also found on the following track 'Songs of Us' which forms only one with the previous one. With 'Child', the tone is even lighter in the form of a playful ritornello, then, 'You Were a Drum', while having this light pop side, flirts with a muffled jazzy atmosphere brought by the strings and 'Honey', catchy and more powerful, offers us an addictive melody on which Johanne brings a remarkable vocal delicacy, the final being of any beauty. The end of the album scrolls through 'Across The Ocean' which served as the single for the album and which is certainly the most accessible track, 'She Goes' which is one of my favorites with its mysterious atmosphere, everything in tension and relaxation, and its admirable vocal arrangements, the very refined 'Where Do We Go From Here' and to finish, 'Lay It Down' which takes us on a beautiful symphonic fresco with beautiful alternations between calm and energetic parts, the final runaway with this sudden rupture being magnificent.

In summary, 'MEER' is a great discovery and takes us on a beautiful journey filled with freshness and originality, the whole being sublimated by magnificent arrangements, first, vocally, with this beautiful complicity between Johanne and Knut but also on an instrumental level which makes it a rich and dense album which improves listening after listening...

Line Up / Musicians

Johanne Margrethe Kippersund Nesdal (Vocal), Knut Kippersund Nesdal (Vocal), Eivind Strømstad (Guitar), Ole Gjøstøl (Keybords), Morten Strypet (Bass), Mats Lillehaug (Drums), Åsa Ree (Violin), Ingvild Nordstoga Eide (Alto)

Artist : Steve Hackett

Album : Under A Mediterranean Sky

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 21-02-2021

The indefatigable 'Steve Hacket' continues to release albums with an impressive frequency and, after his wonderful studio album of 'At The Edge Of Light', the album revisited of Genesis with a symphony orchestra in the mythical 'Royal Albert Hall' and after the last album in public 'Selling England by The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith' released at the end of 2020 in which he covered two of his first albums as well as the complete 'Selling England By The Pound' from 'Genesis', here is his new baby, 'Under A Mediterranean Sky' and it is yet another facet of these multiple talents as a guitarist that he offers us with an invitation to travel under the soft Mediterranean sun under which he went to seek his inspiration during his various visits with his wife 'Jo', I quote Steve: "I've had a lot of ideas in the classical genre over the last few years and felt it was the perfect time to make this album, a moment to contemplate the places we have visited around the Mediterranean.". With him, he invited his long-time friend 'Roger King' who concocted all the keyboard parts and orchestral arrangements as well as other instrumentalists with, among others, acoustic instruments representing well the Mediterranean countries. We are therefore embarked on a kind of patchwork of influences bordering the Mediterranean and we travel from Andalusia to the Orient and this from the first title 'Mdina (The Walled City)', celebrating Malta at the crossroads of different cultures and which alternates orchestral parts and classical guitar sections with always that magical fingering that Steve possesses, and which is further accentuated with the acoustic instrument. The titles parade one after the other and we go from academic compositions such as 'Adriatic Blue' or 'Joie de Vivre' or 'Lorato' or even the sonata by Scarlatti bringing out all the melodious arpeggios to the romanticism of 'Sirocco' or 'Casa del Fauno', the first with sounds mixing East and West and the second being much more classic, passing by a syrupy 'The Memory of Myth' on the border between Greece and Spain or by a bewitching 'The Dervish and the Djin' or even by 'Andalusian Heart' which cradles us in the shade of a beautiful Andalusian square. In short, this other facet of 'Steve Hackett' turned towards the classic is a beautiful journey that the guitarist offers us during this period which precisely deprives us of it, and, even if some amateurs of progressive rock will not find their account there by the classical side of this opus, for the others of which I am part, make yourself comfortable in a calm place and close your eyes, the music will do the rest and you will see all these wonderful landscapes of our beautiful Mediterranean scroll by...

Line Up / Musicians

Steve Hackett (Guitar, Charango, Oud), John Hackett (Flute), Roger King (Keybords, Arrangements Orchestraux), Malik Mansurov (Tar), Arsen Petrosyan (Duduk), Christine Townsend (Violin), Rob Townsend (Saxophone)

Artist : W.E.T.

Album : Retransmission

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 22-02-2021

After the very good 'Earthrage' in 2018, the super group 'WET' is releasing a new album 'Restransmission' and it is of course the opportunity to talk again about 'Jeff Scott Soto' whose last appearance in a myprogmusic review was on February 08, 2021 with a new great progressive metal band 'Octavision'. Our three lascars 'Erik Martensson' ('Eclipse', 'Nordic Union'), 'Robert Säll '('Work OF Art') and 'Jeff Scott Soto' do it again and we can say that the albums follow each other and for each release we enjoy listening to the new offering and for this last baby, a new bassist joins the 5 artists in the person of 'Andreas Passmark' who is part of < a href='' target='_blank'>'Royal Hunt', 'Magnus Henriksson' and 'Robban Bäck' still officiating respectively on guitar and drums. Therefore, in short, they offer us 11 melodic hard-rock hits with choruses that automatically graft themselves into your head, backing vocals that make you want to accompany them and good guitar-saturated riffs in catchy tempos. And to name a few titles that run through my head, I would say 'Got to Be About Love', 'Beautiful Game', 'One Final Kiss' and of course the ballad 'What Are You Waiting For'. Anyway, this new album from 'W.E.T.' is still to be consumed without moderation and to be stored in the anti-depressant part of your CD collection to take it out when you have a little slack in order to get back in shape for a whole day and to take up the advertising of the 70s of a certain chocolate bar : "you feel tired, W.E.T. and it starts again"...

Line Up / Musicians

Erik Martensson (Guitar, Keybords, Chœurs), Jeff Scott Soto (Vocal), Robert Säll (Guitar, Keybords), Andreas Passmark (Bass), Magnus Henriksson (Guitar), Robban Bäck (Drums)

Artist : Kickin Valentina

Album : The Revenge Of Rock

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 23-02-2021

'Kickin Valentina' is an American rock band who already have two studio recordings to their credit ('Super Atomic' in 2015 and 'Imaginry Creatures' in 2017) and which has just released a new album 'The Revenge Of Rock'. They send us direct and effective rock without frills by going straight to the point by offering us 9 compositions filled with good guitar riffs and catchy melodies. From the outset, with 'Freakshow', we are immersed in an overheated atmosphere with a powerful first track, the voice of 'D.K. Revelle' raspy and muscular being completely in tune with this direct style, then, 'Somebody New' plays to an unstoppable melody which makes it one of the first hits of the album and 'Rat Race' puts a new layer with a fast rhythm that carries everything in its path. The suite continues in this fiery atmosphere with twists like the energetic 'War' or 'End OF The Road' tagged southern rock but some titles are a little quieter and 'Heart Tattoo' and 'Strange' bring a little ventilation overall, the album ending with the title song of the album 'The Revenge of Rock' which concludes with a new intense and supercharged composition that sends us heavy with chanted choirs. In short, this latest baby from the Americans of 'Kickin Valentina' is a stick of dynamite containing tubes all as effective as each other that should appeal to an audience loving hard groups who swing explosive hits filled with unstoppable energy very close to the concert atmosphere...

Line Up / Musicians

D.K. Revelle (Vocal), Heber Pampillon (Guitar), Chris Taylor (Bass), Jimmy Berdine (Drums)

Artist : Human Fortress

Album : Epic Tales & Untold Stories

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 25-02-2021

The Germans of 'Human Fortress' release a new album containing unreleased tracks and a compilation of their best tracks which celebrates the 20th anniversary of their first studio recording 'Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir', their latest album 'Reign of Gold' dating from 2019. This new opus is of course intended primarily for fans but can also be a good way to discover this power metal formation, especially as the 8 first unreleased tracks are at the same level as the rest of their discography and present the different facets of the group with the mid-tempo 'The Grimoire' which brings us back to a hard rock of the 70s or 'Disappear in Dark Shadows' with its refrain that never lets you go or the energetic 'Vain Endevour' with its muscular guitar riffs and a new heady chorus or the beautiful ballad 'Free' with the use of strings or the orchestral version of 'Pray For Salvation' (video you tube ici). As for 'We Are Legion' which is not an original title of the group, it was sung by 'Jioti Parcharidis' and is covered in a new version by 'Gus Monsanto' who is now the singer since 2009. In the part 'best of' which was remastered by 'Alexander Krull' from 'Leaves' Eyes', we find titles which made the fame of the group like 'Defenders of the Crown', 'Dark Knight', 'Rise Fall' or the two 'Gladiator In Rome'. In summary, this double CD 'Human Fortress' is a good compromise for German fans with unreleased tracks but also a best of their 6 studio recordings and, for those who do not yet know them, will be a good way to discover this power metal formation which began its career at the end of the 90s...

Line Up / Musicians

Gus Monsanto (Vocal), Torsten Wolf (Guitar, Chœurs), Volker Trost (Guitar), Andre Hort (Bass), Dirk Liehm (Keybords), Apostolos "Laki" Zaios (Drums)

Artist : Phantom Elite

Album : Titanium

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 26-02-2021

'Phantom Elite' is a band which releases its second studio recording 'Titanium' and which was premiered in 2016 by Dutch guitarist, bassist and singer 'Sander Gommans' (also producer and who was a partner of 'Floor Jansen' until 2009 with 'After Forever' and who also participated with his companion 'Amanda Somerville' to the project with 'Michael Kiske' 'Kiske Sommerville') and by the Brazilian 'Marina La Torraca' who is part of the adventure 'Exit Eden' with, 'Clémentine Delaunay' from 'Visions Of Atlantis', 'Anna Brunner' and… a certain 'Amanda Somerville'. It is therefore quite natural that the latter was invited on this new album which succeeds to 'Wasteland' released in 2018 and which offers 11 compositions deploying a skilful mix between classical symphonic metal and a metal bringing a good dose of modernity that the 'we could compare to the project 'Trillium' of the couple (in town and on stage) 'Sander Gommans' / 'Amanda Somerville' (the symphonic metal world is small !).

And, from the first track 'Conjure Rains', the originality is there with an impressive firepower and many changes of tempos, the melodic lines flirting in some places with oriental influences, then, 'The Race', just as powerful, offers us a chorus that is easily embedded in the head and 'Diamonds and Dark' continues on this all-track path by approaching a more classical symphonic metal with breaks of intensity all quite remarkable which made it one of the hits on the albumThe suite continues in this communicative energy with a huge 'Worst Part of Me', the 'Stef Rikken' growls responding to the clear voice of 'Marina La Toraca', then 'Glass Crown' returns to a more classical symphonic atmosphere with verses less powerful which contrast with a heady chorus and the title song of the album raises a notch the intensity by adding a progressive component which makes it possible to make the most successful composition with various overlapping parts presenting great sound differences. The rest of the album features an energetic 'Bravado' which may recall 'Lacuna Coil', the melodic 'Silver Lining' in which 'Marina La Torraca' shares the microphone with 'Amanda Somerville', both forming a remarkable vocal duo, the little very calm instrumental interlude 'Haven', 'Deliverance' which reminds me this time the ex-group 'Stream of Passion' with a huge bass line, the album closing with a last Marina/Amanda duo in a hit 'Eyes Wide Open' dotted here and there with electronic sounds.

In summary, this second album of 'Phantom Elite' shows how far it has come since the beginning of the group because 'Titanium' is very successful and comes directly to compete with the best symphonic metal formations of the moment without plagiarizing them because they bring a real originality which will undoubtedly allow them to come out of the mass of projects of this style...

Line Up / Musicians

Marina La Torraca (Vocal), Max van Esch (Guitar, Bass), Koen Stam (Keybords), Joeri Warmerdam (Drums) + Guests : Amanda Somerville (Vocal, Choirs), Stef Rikken (Vocal)

Artist : Labyrinth

Album : Welcome to the Absurd Circus

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 27-02-2021

The Italians of 'Labyrinth' who are already around 30 years old and who, after a long hiatus between 2010 and 2017, returned with 'Architecture of a God' in 2017 acclaimed by music critics, release a new album which brings their discography to nine studio recordings. This new opus from the Italians is in the continuity of the previous albums with always a clever mix between a galloping power metal with the use of the double pedal (let's not forget that 'Fabio Lione' started his career with 'Labryrinth' in 2015 ) and some much softer metal which makes it an original formation of power metal with its alternations of intensity always well-proportioned between the different compositions but also within certain titles which brings in certain places a touch of progressive.

And the first track 'The Absurd Circus' gives us a good demonstration of it with an energetic opening and a remarkable first vocal performance of 'Roberto Tiranti', always so at ease in these energetic parts, then, in mid-way, a much more relaxed part arrives with a magnificent guitar solo, the finale returning to the theme of the departure. The suite alternates fiery compositions like 'Live Today', 'The Unexpected' or the final title 'Finally Free' with more posed atmospheres with melodic lines always as accessible like 'One More Last Chance' which alternates intensities in a more moderate tempo and we can also quote 'As Long as It Lasts', 'Den of Snakes', and 'Words Minefield', these titles can even make think of formations of symphonic metal like 'Serenity', without forgetting the magnificent ballad 'A Reason to Survive' in line with the ballads of 'Scorpions'. Also note the cover of the 'Ultravox' hit from the 80s, 'Dancing with Tears in my Eyes' in a version with slightly more overdriven guitar riffs than the original.

In summary, the Italians of 'Labyrinth' are releasing a new album in the wake of 'Architecture of a God', with direct and accessible compositions at first listening, ranging from power to melodic metal through progressive and of the symphonic which intends 'Welcome to the Absurd Circus' to an audience loving the mixture of all these styles of metal...

Line Up / Musicians

Roberto Tiranti (Vocal), Olaf Thorsen (Guitar), Andrea Cantarelli (Guitar), Nik Mazzucconi (Bass), Oleg Smirnoff (Keybords), Mattia Peruzzi (Drums)

Artist : Wig Wam

Album : Never Say Die

Release Date : 22-01-2021

Added : 28-02-2021

The end of 2020 had been well supplied with hard-rock or melodic metal albums (see the playlist myprogmusic) and 2021 starts off on hats, because after 'W.E.T.' et 'Creye', it's the turn of the Norwegians from 'Wig Wam' to release a new album called 'Never Say Die' (hey, it doesn't remind you of a certain album from the end of the 70s ?) after nearly 10 years of radio silence, the various members of the group having reunited again for this new baby. And what a baby !! It's a parade of punchy melodic hits which is still a great anti-depressant during this period which continues in the gloom and which will again deprive us of concerts certainly a good time.

After a short instrumental introduction that gently raises the pressure, the eponymous track from the album tumbles with a heavy melodic first gem in which 'Åge Sten Nilsen' is at the top of his game and in which 'Trond Holter' throws a masterful first guitar solo, then 'Hypnotized' continues with a marked rhythm that takes everything in its path and, without really having been able to catch our breath, it continues with a lively 'Shadows of Eternity' and so effective with its chorus heady that we want all to resume in chorus. With 'Kilimenjaro', the rhythm slows down but remains well marked and it is still a brulot with a new chorus made to compete with 'I Love Rock' N Roll' by 'Joan Jett', then the heavy strike force returns with 'Where Does It Hurt' to take our heads off by dint of headbanging. After so much energy, 'My Kaleidoscope Ark' arrives at the right time to recover a little health by listening to this sublime power ballad, then, with 'Dirty Little Secret', it is off again for a catchy track with a new chorus of formidable efficiency and again a huge guitar solo in the middle of the title. The end of the album does not weaken with 'Call Of The Wild' which continues at a breakneck pace while keeping an unstoppable melodic side then, the instrumental 'Northbound' highlights the talent of 'Trond Holter' that literally makes his guitar sing for our greatest pleasure and, as for 'Hard Love', we find ourselves in the 70s with a composition that 'Led Zeppelin' would not have denied with its sublime swaying rhythm and 'Silver Lining' concludes this magnificent opus with melodic lines which never leave you and which reminds us once again of the best rock songs of the 70s / 80s and which would certainly have been all the rage at the time of 'Queen' and that we begins to dream of being the last song of a future Norwegian concert.

In summary, no need to draw you a picture, the Norwegians of 'Wig Wam' will mark the year 2021 with this new album in which each title could be the subject of a single and, if you like hard-rock or melodic metal, I bet that 'Never Say Die' will turn in loop quickly in your playlists...

Line Up / Musicians

Åge Sten Nilsen (Vocal), Trond Holter (Guitar), Bernt Jansen (Bass), Øystein Andersen (Drums)

Artist : Therion

Album : Leviathan

Release Date : 21-01-2021

Added : 20-02-2021

The 2018 year saw the release of the pharaonic work 'Beloved Antichrist' which will remain for me one of my favorite albums of the 2010s and which has not yet been presented to the public because the magnitude of the task to mount such an opera, not only on financially but also because of the dirt of the period in which we live at the moment, had to undermine all the projects of 'Christofer Johnsson', but never mind, the Swede with the help of the singer 'Thomas Vikström' made use of this period during which a lot of formations record remotely all over the world (at least, the coronavirus will have made it possible to accelerate this kind of practice to offer us very beautiful albums in 2020 ), to bring out a new album with the sweet name of 'Leviathan' which highlights, I quote Christofer, "Celtic mythology, chinese, Finnish, Toltec/Aztec and Old Germanic Mythology ". And as we are used to it now, with each release of 'Therion' album, it's always a surprise that awaits us and this time, after the titanic work of 'Beloved Antichrist', Christofer quite naturally decided to take the opposite of his last album to offer us pure 'Therion', much more direct and assimilable to the first listen, with always this brilliant mix between metal and symphonic, all this always being accompanied by a work always admirable in terms of vocal arrangements. So these are 11 new compositions that will be part of a trilogy and we feel that the melodic lines were composed with the sole objective of offering us a set of 'Thérionesques' hits.

First of all, we find his followers with the magic vocal section bringing together 'Lori Lewis' who released her debut solo album in 2019, 'Thomas Vikström' and 'Chiara Malvestiti' as well as 'Christian Vidal' on guitar, 'Nalle Påhlsson' on bass and 'Sami Karppinen' on drums, and since 2019 the Spanish 'Rosalía Sairem' joined the group and replaced 'Linnea Vikström'. Then, throughout the album, we have the impression of hearing a best of about 20 years of the compositions of 'Christofer Johnsson' and this from the first track 'The Leaf On The Oak Of Far' which begins the album in a masterly way with all the ingredients of a hit that puts you in shape all day long with admirable vocal jousting between the male and female parts. Each composition is therefore cut to touch us immediately with melodies that are encrusted in our head with this talent to alternate atmospheres passing thru the hit song 'Leviathan' with its vocal section to spinning you goosebumps to the magnificent ballad 'Die Wellen der Zeit' (see the video here) via 'Aži Dahaka' mixing East and West or the more classic 'Nocturnal Light' with its masterful choirs or the epic and mid-tempo symphonic 'Ten Courts of Diyu' closing the album in a very beautiful way. Every moment brings us back to the must-haves of the Swedes with this irresistible desire to bring out all those albums which gave us so much pleasure which gave me the idea to create a playlist of 'Therion' ici with some titles from each album that have become for me essential between 1996 and 2010 and which I put the list below (not easy for some albums not to take everything!). Note that 'Marko Hietala' who decided to leave 'Nightwish' and who released a very nice solo album in 2020 (see here) was invited on the title 'Tuonela' which was the subject of a video here.

In summary, 'Christofer Johnsson' gives us a great gift with this new album filled with all the nostalgia of nearly 25 years of compositions that have accompanied many fans and these new titles all go directly into the already big list many hits that are part of the already impressive discography of 'Therion'...

Myprogmusic playlist of 'Therion' (1996 - 2010)

01 – To Mega Therion (Theli - 1996)
02 – Cults Of The Shadow (Theli - 1996)
03 – The Siren Of the Woods (Theli – 1996)
04 – Grand Finale/Postludium (Theli - 1996)
05 – The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah (Vovin – 1998)
06 – Birth of Venus Illegitima (Vovin – 1998)
07 – Wine of Aluqah (Vovin – 1998)
08 – Clavicula Vox (Vovin – 1998)
09 – Eye of Shiva (Vovin – 1998)
10 – Black Sun (Vovin – 1998)
11 – The Opening/Morning Star/Black Diamond (Vovin – 1998)
12 – Raven of Dispersion (Vovin – 1998)
13 – Crowning of Atlantis (Crowning of Atlantis – 1999)
14 – Mark of Cain (Crowning of Atlantis – 1999)
15 – From the Dionysian Days (Crowning of Atlantis – 1999)
16 – Seawinds (Crowning of Atlantis – 1999)
17 – Seven Secrets of the Sphinx (Deggial – 2000)
18 – Eternal Return (Deggial – 2000)
19 – Enter Vril-Ya (Deggial – 2000)
20 – Ship of Luna (Deggial – 2000)
21 – The Invincible (Deggial – 2000)
22 – Deggial (Deggial – 2000)
23 – Emerald Crown (Deggial – 2000)
24 – Via Nocturna – Part 1 and 2 (Deggial – 2000)
25 – Ginnungagap (Secret of the Runes – 2001)
26 – Midgård (Secret of the Runes – 2001)
27 – Asgård (Secret of the Runes – 2001)
28 – Jotunheim (Secret of the Runes – 2001)
29 – Ljusalfheim (Secret of the Runes – 2001)
30 – The Blood of Kingu (Sirius B – 2004)
31 – Son of the Sun (Sirius B – 2004)
32 – Dark Venus Persephone (Sirius B – 2004)
33 – The Wondrous World of Punt (Sirius B – 2004)
34 – Melek Taus (Sirius B – 2004)
35 – Call of Dagon (Sirius B – 2004)
36 – Typhon (Lemuria – 2004)
37 – Lemuria (Lemuria – 2004)
38 – Quetzalcoatl (Lemuria – 2004)
39 – An Arrow from the Sun (Lemuria – 2004)
40 – Abraxas (Lemuria – 2004)
41 – Der Mitternachtlöwe (Gothic Kabbalah – 2007)
42 – Gothic Kabbalah (Gothic Kabbalah – 2007)
43 – Son of the Staves of Time (Gothic Kabbalah – 2007)
44 – The Wand of Abaris (Gothic Kabbalah – 2007)
45 – Adulruna Rediviva (Gothic Kabbalah – 2007)
46 – Sitra Ahra (Sitra Ahra – 2010)
47 – Kings of Edom (Sitra Ahra – 2010)
48 – Land of Canaan (Sitra Ahra – 2010)
49 – Hellequin (Sitra Ahra – 2010)
50 – After the Inquisition : Children of the Stone (Sitra Ahra – 2010)

Line Up / Musicians

Christofer Johnsson (Guitar, Keybords), Lori Lewis (Vocal), Chiara Malvestiti (Vocal), Rosalía Sairem (Vocal), Thomas Vikström (Vocal), Christian Vidal (Guitar), Nalle Påhlsson (Bass), Sami Karppinen (Vocal, Drums) + Guest : Marco Hietala (Vocal)

Artist : Creye

Album : II

Release Date : 21-01-2021

Added : 24-02-2021

Guess where this melodic hard rock formation came from. And yes, it is still Sweden, a great provider of formations with melodic hits to wonder if they don't have a factory hidden somewhere in the great Nordic spaces to manufacture so many formations in this style. At the same time as 'WET', they released their second album simply called 'II' after 'Creye' in 2018. Guitarist 'Andreas Gullstrand' founder of the group is not unknown because he participated in the project 'Grand Slam' (which has practically disappeared from the radar, the album is no longer on spotify) and this new opus sees the arrival of a new singer 'August Rauer'. With 'Creye', we are right in the AOR of the 80s and the melodic rock distilled by the Swedes is quite soft with references like 'Asia', 'Toto', 'Journey' or even 'Boston' and to quote artists who have released albums recently, 'Stan Bush', 'Magic Dance' , 'Rob Maratti' or still 'Pride Of Lions'. They offer us 12 melodic compositions at will with omnipresent choirs, keyboards at the same level as the guitars and a singer who has a very pleasant voice and completely adapted for this style of music. Impossible to bring out a particular title because they all have this 'melodic touch' which makes each of them a jewel that is tasted with pleasure and this, entry with 'Broken Highway', very representative of the whole and if you are not sensitive to the heady refrains of 'Find a Reason', 'Siberia' (which has a little melodic lines close to 'Def Leppard') or even 'Can't Stop What We Started', go your way and for the others, leave you take away by this melodic rock that takes us back to the 80s. In short, 'Creye' offers us a very pleasant album to listen to with melodic lines which give the impression that they have always been part of our life, which destines this number 'II' of the Swedes to a large audience loving an elegant and very accessible AOR...

Line Up / Musicians

Andreas Gullstrand (Guitar), August Rauer (Vocal), Fredrik Joakimsson (Guitar), Joel Selsfors (Keybords), Gustaf Örsta (Bass), Arvid Filipsson (Drums)

Artist : Edenbridge

Album : The Chronicles of Eden Part 2

Release Date : 15-01-2021

Added : 16-02-2021

In each musical course, there are inevitably artists who mark you more than others and, for me, 'Edenbridge' is one of the formations which is part of it. I had discovered quite late the Austrians who celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first album last year 'Sunrise In Eden', but since, then, I have made up for it with the first six albums which took a good place in my CD collection, and then there was the release of 'The Bonding' which I listened to on repeat during the summer of 2013, with the title eponymous which was an exceptional symphonic fresco. Two more albums followed, 'The Great Momentum' in 2017, with its title song which always gives me goosebumps with each new listen and 'Dynamind' in 2019 and, as they had done for their first 5 albums with the compilation 'The Chronicles of Eden', the Austrians have just released a second compilation of their best songs of the last 5 albums, list which was created thanks to the votes of their fans.

Of course, we find all the essential titles that are anchored in the memory of every 'Edenbridge' aficionado and, for those who do not yet know them, we could classify them in four categories: first of all, the melodic hits that get you in shape for the whole day like 'Higher', 'On The Other Side', 'Shiantara', 'Alight a New Tomorrow', 'Shadowplay', 'Live and Let Go' or 'Remember Me' or again 'The Moment Is Now' in a festive and catchy symphonic metal, then, 'Lanvall', the composer of the group, also has a great talent for long epic compositions which are 'Myearthdream', 'The Bonding', 'The Greatest Gift of All' or even 'Mystic River' to which we could add 'A Turneround in Art' ('The Great Momentum') and 'The Last of His Kind' ('Dynamind') which are not present in the compilation, each embarking on a wonderful musical journey with changes of mood, tempos and intensity bringing a good dose of progressive. Then, when the rhythms are slower and the metal is less present, it is on the one hand mid-tempos or powerful and melodic power ballads that are offered to us with for example, the latest to date, 'Tauerngold' (see the beautiful video above) but also 'Skyline's End', 'Into a Seal of Souls', 'Brothers on Diamir' or 'Until The End of Time' also present in the compilation to which we could add titles like 'Undying Devotion' ('Myearthdream'), 'Out of this World' ('Solitaire'), 'Star-Crossed Dreamer' ('The Bonding'), or even 'Death Is Not the End' ('The Bonding'). And then, even further away from metal, in one cannot also miss orchestral or acoustic compositions, as' Sabine 'and' Lanvall 'had done in the project 'Voiciano' with titles like 'Dynamind', the acoustic reinterpreted versions of 'Paramount' and 'Higher' completely revisited or the 'Myearthdream' suite for guitar and orchestra or even the instrumental 'Eternity' to which we can add other quiet moments like 'Only a Whiff of Life' ('The Great Momentum') or 'Whale Rider' ('Myearthdream'). And since they could not fit all the extra compositions mentioned in this review into a double CD, I created my playlist 'Suite of "The Chronicles of Eden Part 2"' with titles that I like as much as those selected by the fans of the group.

In summary, this compilation of the Austrians of 'Edenbridge' shows once again all the facets of this endearing group that cannot be summed up in the simple symphonic metal label and, if you do not yet know this training and you enjoy accessible melodic lines in a mix of energy and sweetness always well balanced, there is a chance that 'The Chronicles of Eden Part 2' will quickly become an essential album of your musical collection...

Line Up / Musicians

Sabine Edelsbacher (Vocal), Lanvall (Guitar, Keybords), Dominik Sebastian (Guitar), Steven Hall (Bass), Johannes Jungreithmeier (Drums)

Artist : Dragony

Album : Viribus Unitis

Release Date : 15-01-2021

Added : 17-02-2021

It is not common to have in a symphonic power metal album an orchestral introduction with the 'Beautiful Blue Danube' of 'Johan Strauss' but the Austrians of 'Dragony' have chosen this introduction to tell us the story of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the beginning of the 20th century, but slightly revisited, the Empress Sissi being transformed into a zombie and her son Rudolf of Austria into a Cyborg. 'Dragony' is now about fifteen years old and this new baby, after 'Masters of the Multiverse' in 2018 is their 4th album which comes out via the well-known Austrian label 'Napalm Records'. So we find the former singer 'Siegfried Samer' from 'Visions of Atlantis' and current bassist 'Herbert Glos', guitarist and singer 'Tommy Johansson' who is omnipresent at the moment ('Sabaton', 'Astralium', 'Gabriels', 'Memories of Old' or even 'Majestica') having composing the music for the first hit of the album 'Gods of War' in collaboration with his partner of 'Symphony of Tragedy', 'Tomas Svedin'.

Musically, no surprise, the Austrians offer us a melodic and festive power metal with melodic lines that catch immediately but their particularity is to bring a good dose of symphonic with epic orchestrations which does not reduce their albums to a monotonous sequence of energetic titles but brings a certain variety to the whole. Of course, compositions are powerful but the atmospheres allow you to go from a very speedy 'Gods of War' to an epic 'Love You to Death' through a lively 'Magic' reminiscent of 'Visions of Atlantis' or a heavy mid-tempo 'Darkness Within' with its addictive choirs, all these songs having as a common point, choruses that all make you want to accompany them. The second half of the album continues in this overheated vibe with new melodic hits, like the album's title track or 'Golden Dawn', the climax being the 6 minutes of the epic 'Battle Royale', the album ending with a last melodic jewel 'Legends Never Die' and which sums up the tag of 'glory metal' that the Austrians claim. We can also note the participation of 'Georg Neuhauser', the singer 'Serenity' in the epic 'AEIOU' and the current singer of 'Visions of Atlantis', 'Michele Guaitoli' is also present as well as the singer 'Alessia Scolletti' of 'Temperance' who contributed to all the choirs, all this small world forming a large international family of metal. For the anecdote, the bonus song sung in German 'Haben Sie Wien schon bei Nacht geseh'n', offset from the rest, is a song by 'Rainhard Fendrich', a very popular artist in Austria, and the version of 'Dragony' has been slightly metallized.

In summary, unsurprisingly, the Austrians of 'Dragony' offer us a new album which, even if it will not revolutionize metal, is a great breath of fresh air during our troubled period in which we have need a little lightness and if you are on the verge of taking anti-depressants at the moment, replace them quickly with a good dose of 'Viribus Unitis' and you will see that everything will already be much better, especially since this drug is harmless and can even be consumed without moderation...

Line Up / Musicians

Siegfried Samer (Vocal), Andreas Poppernitsch (Guitar), Manuel Hartleb (Keybords), Simon Saito (Guitar), Herbert Glos (Bass), Frederic Brünner (Drums) + Guests : Georg Neuhauser (Vocal), Michele Guaitoli (Vocal, Chœurs), Alessia Scolletti (Chœurs)

Artist : Winterage

Album : The Inheritance of Beauty

Release Date : 15-01-2021

Added : 18-02-2021

After 'Dragony', it is still a symphonic power metal album that has been released mid-January 2021 with this second baby from Italians of 'Winterage', 'The Inheritance of Beauty', after 'The Harmonic Passage' in 2015, whose theme revolves around the fight of beauty against decadence, I quote their website: "A divine harmony lives hidden inside of the human being from the beginning of Time and it preserves the real and pure Essence of the Universe. You have its inheritance, believe it, and one day the world will be a marvelous place.". For this opus, they did not skimp on the means since they invited an impressive number of artists, including a chamber orchestra and other instrumentalists bringing a variety of sounds with for example an accordion or bouzoukis but also male and female choirs which remarkably densify the vocal sections. Musically, they mix powerful metal with classical music, folk or even medieval music influences, all this being supported by melodic lines always very accessible.

It is with the symphonic introduction 'Overture' highlighting the orchestra and magnificent choirs that the album begins, the conductor 'Vito Lo Re' not being unknown in the world metal since he collaborated with 'Rhapsody In Fire' for their last album
'The Eighth Mountain'. The eponymous title of the album then launches hostilities in a symphonic and catchy power metal with two fast sections highlighting the double pedal framing a much calmer part, the violin of 'Gabriele Boshi' offering us a masterful solo in the second part of the title and the vocal arrangements being particularly sumptuous. With 'The Wisdom of Us', we continue in this imposing atmosphere with a new violin solo, this time in an Irish folk register, then, 'Of Heroes and Wonders' continues in the same style with omni choirs present and 'The Mutineers' changes register for an energetic atmosphere influenced by traditional Celtic songs. The following titles follow the same patterns, mixing symphonic and folk with always rich and imposing vocal performances and the ballad break is brought by 'La Morte di Venere' which puts forward the soprano 'Vittorina Leoni' in an interpretation in the style of 'Lori Lewis' (review of the last 'Therion' very soon). We can also note 'Oblivion Day' which stands out from the rest with beautiful alternations between catchy parts and others quieter, the piano bringing this peaceful side and with a little original Asian interlude in the middle of the title. And to end the album, the Italians offer us a magnificent symphonic fresco of more than 16 minutes which takes us on a marvelous story which alternates multiple atmospheres of narration, magical, theatrical, symphonic and cinematographic that can recall animated films of for children.

In summary, this latest album from the Italians of 'Winterage' is still a great success in symphonic power metal for this early 2021 and if you are a fan of symphonic metal with lyrical vocals or good-natured power metal, you should join 'The Inheritance of Beauty' which is a kind of cross between 'Luca Turilli' a> for melodic lines and power metal style and 'Christofer Johnsson' for the rich and imposing vocal sections...

Line Up / Musicians

Daniele Barbarossa (Vocal), Gabriele Boschi (Violin), Gianmarco Bambini (Guitar), Matteo Raganini (Bass), Luca Ghiglione (Drums) + Guests : Vito Lo Re (Chef d'orchestre), Gabriele Boschi / Alberto Mineo / Silvia Brusini / Emilia Gasparini (Violins), Giulia Subba / Benedetta Fabbri / Clara Mezzanatto / David Villaverde Navarro (Violins), Francesco Bagnasco / Alessandra Rizzone / Pietro Romagnoli (Altos), Delfina Parodi / Alice Ghiretti / Davide Di Blasio (Cellos), Davide Ritelli / Francesco Rocco (Cantabasss), Elisabetta Boschi (Flute, Piccolo), Mirko Foschi (Hautbois), Ilaria Laruccia (Clarinette), Michela Bozzano (Basson), Majuran Chandrapatham (Trompette), Dario Gisotti (Uillean Pipes, Whistles), Daniele Nicola (Accordion), Gabriele Caporuscio / Riccardo Gisotti (Bouzouki), Vittoria Leoni (Vocal), Francesca Torre (Chœurs), Silvia Traverso (Chœurs), Naomi Piga / Sara Sabatini / Fiamma Odorico / Alessia Bruzzo / Serena Agostini (Chœur Morena Campus), Roberto Tiranti / Daniele Barbarossa / Francesco Ciapica / Francesco Ciapica / Daniele Zampelli / Wild Steel (Chœur), Daniele Nicola (Bass), Emanuele Biggi (Vocal extrème), Mattia di Pasquale / Peter Coates, Martyn Owen (Narateurs)

Artist : Stewart Clark

Album : Let's Go There

Release Date : 15-01-2021

Added : 19-02-2021

'Stewart Clark' is an English singer and guitarist who released a debut album in 2019 ('Then There Was Me') and whose second opus 'Let's Go There' is now available on streaming platforms. Surrounded by many artists, he offers us 9 titles between pop and rock influenced by the progressive of the 70s and some clear atmospheres make me think of 'Al Stewart', his sweet and melodious singing being quite close to her compatriot.

With the title 'Almost 20/20', which opens the album, we embark on a peaceful and relaxing journey in the form of a ballad with beautiful melodic lines that we immediately integrate, then, the The title track of the album is lighter and tagged pop and it is in this genre of title that the resemblance to 'Al Stewart' is striking, just like in other tracks like 'When' or 'The Empty Page'. We can also highlight other particularly endearing compositions such as 'A Tree Has Fallen' or 'How Much Fear' which talks about the tragedy of the boat people and the last 3 titles are shared between 'I'm Scared of Music' in a pop style, the instrumental 'When I Tell You I Care' with Celtic influences and 'Almost Got Away with It' which ends the album with another short instrumental highlighting more energetic guitar riffs, compared to the rest.

In summary, this new baby of 'Stewart Clark' is filled with endearing compositions that can be enjoyed quietly with headphones on and 'Let's Go There' is recommended for audiences who like to navigate through peaceful atmospheres between pop and rock...

Line Up / Musicians

Stewart Clark (Vocal, Guitar) + Guests : Steve Scott (Guitar, Keybords), Kerry Mountain (Guitar), Charles Mear (Bass), Ian Mckenzie (Drums), Alison Brown (Hautbois), Tom Potten (Piano), Amanda Lehmann (Choirs), Dave Bandanna (Keybords), Gavin Matthews (Bass), Oscar Federico Fuentes Bills (Keybords), Gary Piears (Bass), Katherine Potten (Choirs), Sepand Samzadeh (Guitar), Mark Norton (Flute), John Hannon (Violin, Percussions)

Artist : The Flying Caravan

Album : I Just Wanna Break Even

Release Date : 11-01-2021

Added : 15-02-2021

'The Flying Caravan' is a new Spanish project led by guitarist 'Antonio Valiente' who was among others one of the founders of the progressive rock group 'Numen' and whose first album 'I Just Wanna Break Even' was released in early 2021 after a long gestation of almost 4 years. In a progressive style that brings us back to the heyday of this style in the 70s, the Spaniards offer us a double album of about an hour and minutes containing a musical fresco of 36 minutes if we remove the alternative version of 'The Bumpy Road to Knowledge' at the end of the album. So, for all lovers of old-fashioned progressive rock who love long compositions, you have come to the right place because this first Spanish album is a pure gem with all the ingredients you want to find in this kind of music.

With the first four titles, we enter this universe which recall the great formations of the 70s like 'Yes',' Genesis' or 'Camel' and others more recent like 'The Flower Kings' or 'Spock's Beard', and this from the instrumental 'Get Real' with keyboard sounds reminiscent of 'Camel', then, with the eponymous title of the group, we continue in its familiar sounds of a classic progressive which makes us discover the endearing voice of 'Izaga Plata' and, without transition, 'Upstream to Manonash' offers us a beautiful ballad with Hammond organ sounds and a guitar solo that 'Carlos Santana' would not have denied. Same calm and peaceful atmosphere for 'Love's Labor Mislaid' which follows, with a chorus which is embedded immediately in our head, then, the first progressive saga 'The Bumpy Road to Knowledge' points the tip of its nose in an atmosphere à la 'Barclay James Harvest' and with beautiful instrumental parts highlighting magnificent guitar, flute and saxophone solos. It is with 'A Fairy Tale for Grown - Ups' that we hold the masterpiece of the album divided into 7 parts that must of course be assimilated little by little to extract all the richness and which takes us into a labyrinth imaginative progressive with many rhythmic and melodic changes which in turn reminds of artists like 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', 'Pink-Floyd', 'Camel', 'Genesis', 'Santana', 'Barclay James Harvest' or even 'Renaissance' and so on.

In summary, this first Spanish album is a very good surprise for the start of 2021 which, given its density, must be tamed little by little to take full advantage of it, which destines 'I Just Wanna Break Even' to a public loving classic progressive rock taking us back a few decades when this style took all its dimension...

Line Up / Musicians

Izaga Plata (Vocal, Choirs), Pedro Pablo Molina (Base), Antonio Valiente (Guitar, Bass), Juan José Sánchez (Keybords), Lluís Mas (Drums, Percussions) + Guests : Manuel Salido (Saxophone), Juan Carlos Aracil (Flute), Jorge Aniorte (Vocal, Choirs)