Images Of Eden-Angel Born   ©2021  Pavement Entertainment
​While I was listening to this latest album from Images Of Eden a few things came to my mind. First, the music has both modern and more traditional elements to it. It's definitely progressive in nature, but not in the way one would expect when using that term. I felt they were the type of progressive that would fall somewhere between Queensrÿche and classic Fates Warning. The music has good depth to it with the band being a concept band. There is a focus on subject material just as much as the music. You have to pay attention while taking this album in, but are rewarded for doing so. It's a great musical journey that shows talent, discipline and good songwriting ability. If you are a fan of the two mentioned bands above, you really should give this one a listen at the least. There are some similarities in approach and sound that makes this a great listen!
Release Date:  March 26, 2021
Gary Hughes-Waterside    ©2021 Frontiers Records 
​Fans of the band Ten will obviously be very familiar with Gary Hughes. He has one of the more recognizable voices in todays rock world with his warm vocal tones and excellent delivery. While Ten goes for a bit heavier sound, Hughes goes a slightly different direction with his solo material being more melodic. That's not to say that Ten is not melodic, because they definitely are. The solo material is just a bit lighter in terms of intensity. Being a fan of the earlier Ten material as that is where I got started with the band, this music reminds me a bit of the earlier Ten albums on the melodic songs. There are definite differences as well, but if you listen to this music you will get the idea. The delivery of the music is very smooth and keeps the listener interested from start to finish. If you are a fan of more melodic rock or Ten's great career to this point, be sure to get this one!
Release Date:  March 12, 2021
Secret Sphere-Lifeblood  ©2021 Frontiers Records
​Fans who have been following Secret Sphere for a long time now will probably be happy to hear of the return of original vocalist Roberto Messina. Musically this album gets down to business right away with a melodic power metal sound. One would be surprised at the fact that this band never hit the heights as other similar bands like Stratovarius and others, but they definitely have the goods to be at those heights. 'Lifeblood' delivers a great metal performance that is equal parts intensity and melody. It's a very smooth listen start to finish. I have been following them for a few albums now, but have to confess I wasn't an early adopter. They sounded really good with their power sound and have me watching for new material with anticipation. I love the atmosphere and the overall feel of the album. They should definitely be more well known at this point!
Release Date:  March 12, 2021
Warrior Path-The Mad King   ©2021 Symmetric Records
​Here is a band that is evolving into a force in the metal movement. I absolutely loved their first self titled release that featured Yannis Papadopoulos from Beast In Black on vocals. They draw in some great vocalists and this new release is no exception with Daniel Heiman who fronted Lost Horizon handling the singing this time around. The music is once again a more traditional metal sound. If you were familiar with the debut, this is more of that, but at the same time as mentioned, a more evolved sound. There is a lot of consistency in the songs and everything flows quite well. At times I could sense hints of bands such as Iron Maiden in areas of the music. Mainly in the structure of the songwriting.  You could make the case for this having the NWOBHM sound and you would be correct. If you haven't checked this band out, what are you waiting for?
Release Date: March 1, 2021
Arion-Vultures Die Alone   ©2021 AFM Records
​My introduction to this Finnish band was with the last release 'Life Is Not Beautiful'. I became a big fan of that release and was happy to see that a new album was on the way recently. After making my way through this album, I am even happier with it. The band is showing great growth and has expanded their sound a bit. To me there feels like there is a bit more polish on this new album. The songs are definitely Arion and there is a definite likeability factor to them. This album may be a bit more mainstream, but that could also propel them to new heights. For those unaware of Arion, they play a slightly more modern hard rock sound. There is some variety in tempo as well. You have plenty of rockers, but also some slightly more melodic stuff like the album closer 'Alone Until Eternity Ends'. To me, this album is a must have for fans of hard rock!
Release Date: April 9, 2021