Michael Thompson Band-Love & Beyond   ©2019  Frontiers Records
​Somehow I missed the earlier Michael Thompson stuff, but elected to not do that again with the latest album 'Love & Beyond'. This is a very smooth record. The songs flow well and the addition of the interlude tracks helps the transition from song to song. While this is a great melodic hard rock record, there is also an important part of it all with the guitar work. This ends up being the driving force although it doesn't dominate things. It's a record with good balance. The music itself is fairly mainstream in terms of tempo and sound. Traditional hard rockers are going to definitely want to check this one out. This is also a nice fit for the Frontiers Records roster if you are familiar with their bands. A very confident sounding record from some of the industries better musicians. Trust me, you'll want to re-visit this one time and time again!
Release Date:  April 26, 2019
Jim Peterik & World Stage-Winds of Change    ©2019 Frontiers Records 
​There are quite a few different elements on this record that make it great. First, the sheer talent of Jim Peterik. That's a given with his status in the industry. Second, the great vocalists that contributed to each track. It was amazing hearing singers like Dennis DeYoung and Kevin Cronin among others contributing so much to the sound of each song. DeYoung is featured on 'Proof of Heaven' and helps make that track sound like a classic Styx track. You get the point. The chemistry between Peterik and these excellent musicians really brings out the best in everyone. Third, the songs themselves. Most are pretty laid back with a decent amount of melody and charm. The record is a very good listen when you are in the mood to just kick back and chill. A lot of these musicians were responsible for where my musical tastes started from. A great musical journey!
Release Date:  April 26, 2019
Phrenia-Perspectives  ©2019  Phrenia Music
​This band hails from Serbia and plays a much more modern sound that bridges a more pop sound with metalcore influences as well. Throwing all of that aside, I think fans of bands such as Linkin Park mixed with maybe somebody like Nothing More would help describe the sound here. I don't remember there being any rap elements, but there is a bit of a Linkin Park feel to some of this in terms of melodies and keyboard usage, etc. This is obviously a release that is sung in the bands main language on some songs, but even with that, the music is strong enough to entice the listener to keep coming back. In my opinion the Metalcore influences were on the light side. Mainstream audiences should embrace this release without worrying about too much aggression. This 6 track album will have great appeal to modern audiences. Great batch of songs!
Release Date:  March 1, 2019
Emil Bulls-Mix Tape   ©2019  AFM Records
​I made many mix tapes back in my day. Grab all your favorite songs and put them in one place. Emil Bulls have put together an interesting track listing for this 'Mix Tape' release. There are a few classics in there which is where most bands go when doing this type of thing. Most of the tracks here are from more modern bands from all types of genres. This is one of the reasons I like Emil Bulls. Even though fans may expect them to do a certain thing, they think outside the box and do things people may not expect, but will probably like. I wasn't familiar with all of the songs on the album. I tend to delve into my music mostly in the rock and metal genre. Some of these are heavier versions of pop hits. Fans may not like the pop version but may end up liking the heavier cover versions. The band did quite well with each. A fun release between studio offerings! 
Release Date:
Fortune-II   ©2019  Frontiers Records
​I used to spend a lot of time back in the 80's scouring for more obscure releases. I turned up a lot of gems back then. The bands never really found the success that some of the other acts did back then even though they probably had everything just right for success. Fortune was one of those bands. The band's first record was one of my favorite AOR records and continues to be to this day. I was a very happy guy to hear that a second album was on its way. This new record continues where the first album left off in my opinion. Great disciplined AOR with a lot of depth and atmosphere. I like this album equally as well as the debut. It just took a long time to get it. I love the way it was all put together. You could tell that the same mindset was here which is sometimes hard to do with so many changes through the years. This is a must for 80's style AOR fans!
Release Date:  April 26, 2019