Smackbound-20/20   ©2020 Frontiers Records
​This band and record show another side of the Frontiers roster. The band's sound does have traditional hard rock elements, but there is also a bit of a modern edge to it as well in my opinion. It's an excellent batch of well crafted songs that do show some good variety. You get some pretty aggressive tracks and also some more melodic sounds as well. I would invite fans of hard rock to check out the many offerings via YouTube for this band. There are quite a few there that represent the variety I am talking about. Finland has been a hotbed for good bands and Smackbound is the next band from there that you should be watching. If I was to try and compare the band's sound, I might mention Kobra and the Lotus. There are some similarities here and there. Make no mistake, this band is poised to strike. I expect big things as time goes on! Essential!
Release Date:  June 12, 2020
Blue Öyster Cult-iHeartRadio Theater N.Y.C. 2012    ©2020  Frontiers Records 
​Another great live release from the metal veterans. This time we go back to 2012 and the iHeartRadio Theater. The record sounds absolutely great. I've always been into this band's live stuff. They put on a great show and the track selections are always good. The classics are always there and you get some other goodies as well. I also picked up the Blu-Ray version of this release as I like to watch these shows as well. The only minor complaint with the video counterpart is the quick zooming that kept going on. that stuff drives me nuts. Other than that it was a pretty perfect show with a great setlist. This band still has so much to offer after so many decades in the business. Apparently there is a new record coming out later this year which I will be looking forward to. Blue Öyster Cult has been represented well this year with more still to come. Great live release!
Release Date:  June 12, 2020
High Spirits-Hard To Stop  ©2020  High Roller Records
​High Spirits returns with their new album 'Hard To Stop'. Like the previous full length record 'Motivator', this one has a bit of the NWOBHM feel to it. It is definitely an old school sounding metal record. The album gets started off with the rocker 'Since You've Been Gone' and things stay pretty even from there. The one thing that really stands out to me with this new album is how it can be heavy, but so melodic as well. It has equal parts mixed together into a cohesive package. This makes the music very memorable and encourages multiple listens. The tone of the music also sounds fairly vintage. The album could fit very well anywhere in the 80's even though I think it has appeal to more modern audiences as well. It's a great batch of songs from an artist that we have looked at before. Easy recommend for traditional metal fans!
Release Date:  July 31, 2020
Vega-Grit Your Teeth   ©2020   Frontiers Records
​Each release from Vega brings another batch of infectious melodic hard rockers. This band's albums tend to stick with me. I listened to previous albums quite a bit and found myself returning to 'Grit Your Teeth' quite a bit as well. The style as mentioned is melodic hard rock and any one of these tracks would have made a big mark in the 80's. Each song has a memorable and in some cases catchy trait to them. The band inject a bit of humor in places especially when it comes to their art or videos. It's all in good fun which makes this a nice listen while the world goes crazy around us. The writing style used in previous releases is once again used with the music on this album. There is no doubting who this is when you listen to them. Vega has turned into one of my favorite hard rock bands. It's always easy to recommend each album and this one is no exception!
Release Date:  June 12, 2020
Maryann Cotton-Hallelujah   ©2020  El Puerto Records
​The fourth release from the shock rockers that will have the listeners doing comparison to vintage Alice Cooper sounds. There is no denying the similarities with the king of shock rock. With that being said, there is a lot to like here. I like the approach. It does sound really old school to my ears. I've been listening to a lot of this style for literally decades and this band does it quite well. The music did remind me of the 70's era Cooper albums. The rockers are here, but also some very good more melodic tracks such as 'Eternal Love Forever' and 'My Own Way'. The latter track comes in at just over 8 minutes and has some good atmosphere that makes it feel like it is shorter. For those that don't know, the singer born as Jackie Patino is the son of Hal Patino who fans will recognize from King Diamond's band. Hal Patino plays Bass on the album as well!
Release Date: July 3, 2020