Place Vendome-Close to the Sun   ©2017  Frontiers Records
​Fourth release featuring former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske as well as many other big names including Producer Dennis Ward. Fans of the band will know what to expect. What you get here is a platter full of melodic hard rock songs reminiscent of the 80's era. The album overall  due to the sheer number of guest musicians really is an all star type of release and songwriting is very good as is delivery. 2017 will be a very good year for not only Kiske, but for fans of his as well due to this great new release, but also news of him rejoining his Helloween bandmates for a tour. I have personally been a big fan of Kiske since the early Helloween days and he has been one of my favorite vocalists since those early days. This album represents some very good work by all involved and is a very enjoyable listen start to finish. Great record!
Release Date:  February 24, 2017
7HY-Stories We Tell    ©2017 Lions Pride Music 
​Just by looking at the similarity of the bands logo, one might guess that this has something to do with the band Shy. You would be correct in assuming so as 7HY or Seven Hard Years is the brainchild of Alan Kelly formerly the drummer of Shy. Musically this album would be classified as melodic hard rock in my opinion and has some very good songwriting. Kelly did write some of the Shy material and does have decent experience in doing so. Handling vocal duties is Shawn Pelata of Final Sign and overall the results of this collaboration are very good. There is a certain amount of polish on this record and a fair amount of finesse in delivery. The album rocks where it needs to and delivers some good atmosphere and memorable moments as well. If you were a fan of Shy or just melodic hard rock in general, this is worth your time. Kelly is a very solid musician!
Release Date:  March 3, 2017
Emperors & Elephants-Moth  ©2017  Pavement Music
​Very interesting record here. Upon listening to this is was obvious the band was more modern in sound, but in ways had a bit of a retro feel. What I mean by that is that the sound of some of the music reminded me of bands like Alice in Chains and then other times Asphalt Ballet came to mind. Opinions will obviously vary, but that is what my ears picked up on. The record I would classify as a sleeper. One spin might not be enough to figure this one out, but if you do spend the time with this album, I feel you will be rewarded. There is quite a bit going on including moments where there is a bit darker tone and other times things seem a bit more upbeat. I gave this numerous listens and came out satisfied. The band have put together a pretty good record. Current rock fans as well as a few old school fans will probably find a lot to like here!
Release Date:  March 17, 2017
Vanishing Point-Tangled in Dream (2017 Re-Issue)   ©2017  AFM Records
​Been sitting on this release for a bit trying to figure out how to write this review. We actually reviewed this title when it was first released. That can be found here. With this review we will focus more on the stuff that wasn't there the first time which is the second disc of this set. The second disc is full of bonus tracks that had not been released previously outside of the Japanese market. The bonus stuff is broken down into, a few cover songs, some live and unplugged music, b-sides, and a new recording of 'Samsara' called 'Samsara II'.  The live and unplugged date back to 2003. The cover tracks are 'Separate Ways' by Journey and 'On the Turning Away' by Pink Floyd. These both are covered very tastefully and sound great. The new recording of 'Samsara' is familiar and sounds good as do the Japanese b-sides. All of this makes this package even better!
Release Date:  January 27, 2017
Sinner-Tequila Suicide   ©2017 AFM Records
​Mat Sinner keeps quite busy as we have witnessed with bands such as Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle and his band Sinner. 'Tequila Suicide' is the bands latest studio album that features production duties that involve Mat and also Dennis Ward who is very active with many artists in this capacity. The record is definitely Sinner and has a straight forward rock and roll approach. In some ways it almost feels like a party approach which is always cool. I also liked the blues rock ballad 'Sinner Blues'. This particular track has a very nice vibe to it. The album keeps to basics and just delivers a decent listen overall. Nothing you would consider groundbreaking, but that isn't always necessary anyway. It always comes back to the songs, and this batch is quite good. Nice to see this band get some focus as this is another good channel for Mat to offer his music through.
Release Date:  March 31, 2017