Judas Priest-Firepower ©2018 Epic Records
There is a big buzz out there with this title. Very good reason for it. Tom Allom joined the band with this release as did Andy Sneap and quite honestly, the results are amazing! You will hear this a lot, this album is their best since the mighty 'Painkiller' album. This album to me would fit with the Tom Allom albums of the 80's in many ways. Since the days of 'Painkiller', things were a bit uneven for the band in my opinion. Plenty of good output, but a few misses here and there as well. As fans, we always go back because we know the potential that exists. This album is the reward for sticking with them. I didn't feel there was a weakness here and the intensity is about perfect where the band always seems to shine. Love that artwork too! It fits in with the 80's albums as well. With all this being said, this title comes very highly recommended! Essential!
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Volster-Perfect Storm ©2018 Rock of Angels Records
I was not familiar with this band but am familiar with the band Masquerade of which a couple of members come from. I started browsing this promo and knew immediately that I would like it as the bands sound is in tune with what I like in terms of the genre. There is a decent amount of flash and melody here. It's a good melodic hard rock record that can push the intensity up a bit. Songs generally are catchy and memorable which is a good attribute to have in an album. This album would have fit well in the mid to late 80's which you can tell are the influences. On board for co-production duties was Max Norman who made a living in the 80's doing albums such as this. Some of this material actually dates back to 1996. I'm personally glad after hearing this that the guys resumed after many years to put a full album of great hard rock music together. Excellent!
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Saxon-Thunderbolt ©2018 Silver Lining Music
There are a few bands that have just released new albums that were part of the legendary NWOBHM movement. Saxon being one of them with their latest 'Thunderbolt. My history with Saxon goes back just prior to 'Power and the Glory' and I've been taking the ride the whole way. This latest album is solid and definitely made with Saxon's usual formula. There is a decent sized legion of fans that have come to expect this quality and Saxon usually delivers without a blink. I think the songwriting and delivery are very good with this record. I enjoyed the track 'They Played Rock and Roll' as it pays homage to the days of Motörhead and Saxon touring together and is a nice tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister whom is already missed in the scene. It's a good Saxon record with a very even feel in terms of style and tempo. Easy recommend!
Release Date: February 2, 2018
W.E.T.-Earthrage ©2018 Frontiers Records
Albums like this are so easy to review. I am a huge Jeff Scott Soto fan and have become a pretty big fan of Erik Martensson as well. It seems that it is very hard for these guys in this band to write bad songs. As I progressed through this album, it was one great track after another. After being exposed through the years to so much music I always wonder when people are going to run out of ideas. With musicians like the guys in W.E.T. it doesn't seem like it's going to happen. I absolutely enjoyed the bands first two studio albums and feel that this album is as strong as those. There is some good punch to the songs on this record, but melody wins the day. The band have released some videos already via Youtube which I would recommend checking out. You'll probably be just as hooked on this band as I am if you aren't already. Another must have in March!
Release Date: March 23, 2018
FM-Atomic Generation ©2018 Frontiers Records
As I breeze the promos sent to me, sometimes you will get a preconceived notion that you may not want to even check something out. I hadn't listened to new FM music in quite some time, but something told me that I needed to at least check their upcoming album out. Really glad I did. I remember this band being talented and offering up good melodic hard rock. It all holds true with this release. The largest element is the melodic element obviously, but you get a very cool groove in places and a decent soulful feel. The lighter stuff on the album is well done as expected. There is a very nice balance throughout this listen and if I was to describe this album with one word, I would say 'smooth'. A very good album to kick back and just absorb. No good reason to skip anything either. Glad I checked this out as I will pick up a physical copy of this one!
Release Date: March 30, 2018