Praying Mantis-Gravity   ©2018  Frontiers Records
​So the title track popped up in my recommends on Youtube a while back. I hadn't listened to this band in some time and was very pleasantly surprised with the whole vibe of the song. The album as a whole has the same feel. The music is a good balance of melodic, a bit of an edge, and a very cool groove. Very memorable stuff. With this band's history dating back to the infamous NWOBHM movement, it's great to see them still releasing good quality music. In ways you still get that classic feel on tracks like the opener 'Keep it Alive' or 'Mantis Anthem'. As far as more melodic songs, 'Gravity' comes to mind as does 'Time Can Heal' or even 'The Last Summer'.  I give this album high marks as it gives a decent variety in tempo and the songwriting is really good. The songs are instantly memorable. Very easy to recommend to fans of melodic metal!
Release Date:  May 11, 2018
Co-op-Co-op    ©2018  Ellefson Music Productions/SPV  
​Well, this is pretty cool. Dash Cooper, son of shock legend Alice Cooper fronts this more modern hard rock band.  It has a decent intensity with a fairly dark feel that in ways reminded me of Alice in Chains. Alice Cooper does appear on the song 'Old Scratch',  and there is another guest appearance by Joe Perry on 'Howl'. The band definitely have the right people in the mix to make a name for themselves. The guest appearances will help, but the band and album do stand on their own as well. There is a traditional vibe going on here, but as mentioned also has a modern sound to it as well.  The band does have a video up for the track 'N.O.W.' on Youtube which represents their sound well. It's really cool to see the next generation of the Cooper family in the music business. Pretty solid record for a debut album and Dash Cooper fronts the band well.
Release Date:  June 15, 2018
Refuge-Solitary Men  ©2018  Frontiers Records
​Good power metal release from Refuge and the Frontiers Records label. If you look at the bands logo without even hearing this, you might guess who is fronting this band. The vocals will definitely give it away. Peavey Wagner of Rage along with his Rage bandmates from the 1988-1993 era. So this is more of a side band that will bring back the band from an earlier era and we still get modern day Rage. Either incantation of the band sound like Rage stylistically as well as the songs themselves which is all the better. More music. 'Solitary Men' is a pretty strong record with a good intensity as you would expect. The listen is fairly uniform, catering to the heavier side of the bands sound. I like the fact that Frontiers gets behind stuff like this as well as the more melodic stuff. It provides decent variety to their catalog.  Very solid traditional power metal record!
Release Date:  June 8, 2018
Sunstorm-Road To Hell   ©2018  Frontiers Records
​Going back to some of my earliest favorite albums, Joe Lynn Turner fronted quite a few of the bands such as Rainbow and Deep Purple. Sunstorm is a more recent band he fronts that goes back a little over a decade or so. This latest album is solid and in places has the sound you would expect from Turner and his earlier music. A good mix of heavy and melodic infuse in each song. There is also some good depth and a very high quality feel to this record as one would expect considering how long Turner has been in the music business. I love the artwork on this release as well. Alessandro Del Vecchio is on board with production duties as well as keyboards. This release also features Simone Mularoni of DGM on lead guitar.  This record will be a must have for fans of melodic hard rock with a classic feel throughout. 
Release Date:  June 8, 2018
Lordi-Sexorcism   ©2018  AFM Records
​This is the second release we have checked out for review and feelings are pretty much the same. From an image standpoint this band would remind a lot of people of the band Gwar. Musically, Lordi is quite good. Things on this release tend to be catchy and at times maybe a bit theatrical. The band have a fairly accessible sound in my opinion. The music has the potential to drag a lot of fans in due to it's sound and the bands approach. Subject material on this record is over the top as usual as this band deals in not only gimmick, but a slight shock factor as well. With those two things being said, I find the band not to be just a gimmick but a well delivered act who are the real deal overall. This band actually dates back to 1992 and have been releasing for AFM Records in the last few years. I'm sure the live show would be crazy and over the top as well.
Release Date: May 25, 2018