Shiraz Lane-For Crying Out Loud  ©2016 Frontiers Records
​If you wanted a flashback to say, maybe 1987 or so, Shiraz Lane is perfect. Upon a first listen you might peg this band as just another hair band, but there is much more to these guys. Songs are really good and range from melodic to hard rock heavy. I found my listen to be really good the first time through and with each subsequent listen it got better each time. Some good flashy guitar playing and over the top vocals make this a solid hard rock record from a band that I really had not heard of until now. Really glad bands still play in this style as it brings fun back to our world of today!
Dead Mans Hand-Til Karma Forgets    ©2016 Pavement Entertainment 
​Part of the fun of checking out as many bands as we do is the comparisons. Who do they remind you of? Dead Mans Hand had me scratching my head a bit. Good raw sounding band that mixes some classic with some modern sounds. After checking this one out a bit more I started thinking of a cross between Godsmack and maybe a touch of The Offspring. Musically the band leans more to the former than the latter. The album has a decent heavy vibe overall and with the solidity of the bands sound the sky could be the limit for them. Very consistent record overall. Fans should take notice!
Scarleth-The Silver Lining  ©2016 The Leaders
​In the past few years I have developed a taste for these style of bands. Female fronted and heavy, but with a lot of precision. This band is perfect in this way. At times you even have a bit of a progressive feel such as tracks like 'Pure Desire'. Big symphonic sound in places, then moves to precision leads, and then into a funk bass vibe. Absolutely killer. The band do have a combo in vocals of clean and growls in areas similar in ways to what Amaranthe do. This band is a bit more metallic in my opinion and have delivered a pretty solid record. If you like female fronted metal, give this one a listen!
The Defiants-The Defiants   ©2016 Frontiers Records
​It's obvious that there is a lot of chemistry with these guys. Danger Danger's Bruno Ravel and former vocalist Paul Laine team up with Rob Marcello or some amazing melodic hard rock. While Danger Danger fans may prefer Poley fronting the band, this is a great avenue to keep Laine and Ravel and that great chemistry intact. The songs are great start to finish and offer up memorable melody and good structure.  This will probably be one of my more favorite melodic hard rock records of this year and should be a contender in my year end picks in that category. Hoping these guys do more down the road!
Conquest-Under the Influence   ©2016 Dark Star Records
​Conquest's latest album is the soundtrack for my life. The album is chock full of selected metal covers. An absolutely great track listing. With so many years behind a lot of us fans, it can be tricky to nail down just a few tracks. This listing is perfect. As far as the covers themselves, I think the band covered the songs very well and didn't try to do too much to take away from original intent. You know it's Conquest covering and they do a fine job. Don't miss their take on Bon Jovi's 'Wanted Dead or Alive' which sounded a bit heavier which actually was very cool. It's a great tribute from a very solid metal band!