Alcatrazz-Born Innocent   ©2020  Silver Lining Music
​I honestly never thought I would see this happen. I was a big fan of Alcatrazz in the 80's but the band had not released a studio album in so long, I didn't think it was ever going to happen. The last studio album 'Dangerous Games' was released back in 1986 and 34 years later here we are with a new studio album. The album definitely sounds like the band did years ago. Graham Bonnett has an unmistakable voice and the guitar shredding is here thanks to Joe Stump. Even the structure of the songs and the delivery very much sounds like Alcatrazz of old. This album has a great batch of songs that fans of the band are going to be pretty happy with.  I guess it was inevitable after the live album 'Parole Denied-Tokyo 2017' that the band could come back with some new material. A very cool album and turn of events for sure!
Release Date:  July 31, 2020
Black Sun-Silent Enemy    ©2020  Rockshots Records 
​If you are looking for a really good album with a power metal sound that isn't afraid to add some depth and atmosphere, this e.p. by Ecuadorian act Black Sun is going to be for you. The album has an interesting flow. There is an epic feel to all this even if the album is short. There are also some very cool guest musicians that add quite a bit to the music like Netta Laurenne who some may know from Smackbound and Henning Basse from Firewind. The heavier stuff on the record has a more Judas Priest or Primal Fear sound to it. It all sounds really good and due to it being an e.p. will have the listener wanting more. The guest vocalists handle the vocal dutites on this album, but it will be interesting to see where the band goes with a new vocalist. There is definitely a lot to offer with this band. Keep an eye on them, but don't miss this e.p. for now!
Release Date:  September 4, 2020
Fortune-The Gun's Still Smoken-Live  ©2020  Frontiers Records
​Fortune's self titled album from 1985 was a go to album for me. When I wanted to check out a more AOR oriented act, I would listen to this album a lot. I was pretty happy when they release 'II' last year. The icing on the cake is now this live album filmed in Milan. Italy at the Frontiers Rock Festival last year. The band plays a great set and sounds really tight. I felt the track selection was pretty good. Sure, I missed a track or two like '98 In The Shade' and 'Stacy' which I would like to have seen there, but those are just personal preferences. The package includes a CD and a companion DVD. I don't believe there was a blu-ray for this particular title, but the set is great nonetheless. I was never able to catch this band back in the day and opportunities like the album help to rectify that in a way. This will be a fun concert to watch off and on for years to come!
Release Date:  August 7, 2020
South Of Salem-The Sinner Takes It All   ©2020   South Of Salem Music
​South of Salem is a heavy rock band based out of the United Kingdom. This album is their debut and shows a ton of promise. The style leans a bit more modern and will have appeal to fans of bands like Avenged Sevenfold or maybe even Dope. I also felt their were some cool traditional elements such as some flashy guitar and the chants. Loved the chants the band used here and there on the record. Debut albums are usually pretty good and this one is no exception. Band's usually spend a great deal of time writing and are not under the same time constraints as albums that follow. I'm willing to bet this band will be able to keep writing up to the standard of this album with music in the future. Their is a confidence in both songwriting and delivery with this album. This one will continue to be in my player for years to come. Great stuff!
Release Date:  September 25, 2020
Diamond Rexx-Psych Ward   ©2020  Pavement Entertainment
​A few years back Diamond Rexx returned with the track 'Dead'. I had bought 'Land Of The Damned' back in the 80's but really had not heard much in between 'Dead' and the debut. The band had released, but it seemed to be a bit off the radar. 'Psych Ward' is a full length studio album that comes to you via Pavement Entertainment. The music is pretty much on par with the track 'Dead' which is also included on this release. The thing that stuck out to me was how riff oriented this record is, especially in the second half of the album. There is a lot of head banging to be had here. I think the songs are good overall, but they really grabbed me in the second half of the album. If you are familiar with the band, think of the band's early sound and add some modern technology and you will have a feel for this. Very cool record that should be in any rocker's collection!
Release Date:  August 28, 2020