Attack Of The Rising-Game Changer   ©2021 Weapon Records/Vanity Music Group
​Here is an album that makes me feel young again. This is an old school sounding record. I was thinking earlier Obsession mixed with Crimson Glory or maybe even some vintage Lizzy Borden. Vocally and musically this album is along those lines. The sound of the guitar work and the approach to the songwriting all feel fairly retro and that's a damn good thing. Another thing that stood out to me was the songwriting. Even though it has a feel of the early to mid 80's metal sounds, the band add a bit more to it in the way of changes in direction mid song. This makes it fun to listen to, especially the first time. You are not sure what's coming, but you know it's going to be good. Subsequent listens have you looking forward to those same moments. This band is really tight and has a real nack for traditional metal sounds of yesteryear. They were new to me, but you can be sure I will be keeping an eye on them in the future. Solid metal record!
Release Date:  July 30, 2021
Helloween-Helloween    ©2021 Nuclear Blast Records 
​This album is a pretty big deal. After hearing about Michael Kiske going out on tour and joining Andi Deris on vocals a couple of years ago and Kai Hansen joining after so many years of doing his own thing, this was amazing news. I was a huge fan of the 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' albums and feel this is the natural follow up even though there are so many albums in between. This just feels right. The chemistry is there and the multiple vocalist thing works really well due to the unique identity of each vocalist involved. It's almost like taking acting parts in a way. The songs in my opinion are excellent and on par with those earlier albums. I have to admit that I am glad with how this whole thing worked out. Each member has so much to offer and keeping everyone in the band only enhanced the music further. It's multi dimensional in a lot of ways. There are a lot of must have albums this year and this is one of the top choices. Highly recommended!
Release Date:  June 18, 2021
DemiAura-The Ascendant  ©2021 Pavement Entertainment
​I have taken in a lot of progressive rock music through the years. DemiAura are out of Phoenix and are female fronted. Musically, a lot of things stuck out to me. First, I loved the tone and clarity. These is a very pleasant sounding album from a production standpoint. I thought it sounded very good and balanced. Second, the band has great composition skills. As I have mentioned in other reviews, progressive sometimes can get into too much excess like guitar noodling. This band is definitely not that. Everything that is done seems to have purpose. You could say there is a decent amount of discipline. There is absolutely no denying these band members are very skilled in what they do, but the songs as a whole come to life due to the band working as a team which is something you see with the genre's veteran bands like Rush among others. Everything here just gels well. A great band that I'm sure will do great things in the genre for years to come.
Release Date:  July 16, 2021
Dirkschneider & The Old Gang-Arising   ©2021 AFM Records
​What really amazes me about Udo Dirkschneider is just how much energy this guy has. While others in the genre contemplate retirement, he just keeps going and putting out quality music along the way. My hat's off to him! This upcoming e.p. reunites him with his old Accept bandmates Peter Baltes and Stefan Kaufmann. He also has some additional vocal work from Manuela Bibert and Kaufmann. The album only has 3 tracks which is the only downer. All 3 songs are excellent and reignite that chemistry that made so many Accept albums great. There is a definite Accept feel to the music, but it goes beyond that due to some of the elements already mentioned. I am really hoping we get more from this band as I absolutely loved what I heard here. I guess it depends on how busy Udo wants to be at this point as he does have an upcoming album coming from U.D.O. as well. Top notch stuff on this e.p. as far as I am concerned!
Release Date:  August 27, 2021
Wildstreet-III   ©2021 Golden Robot Records
​I have been meaning to check this band out for a bit now. I have seen some press releases come through, and they just seemed like something I might dig. Well, here is their third record and I can say that I definitely like them. It takes me back to all of the arena rock of the 80's. I indulged in that and have seen many bands that this band reminds me of. Big choruses and good guitar grooves make each track instantly memorable. This band to me also has a great deal of crossover potential. What I mean by this is they will probably have quite a bit of appeal to fans of more modern oriented rock as well. The songs have a pretty uniform feel to them. This band knows what they do and they do it very well. No need to get out in the weeds with experimentation. They just offer up great hard rock songs with a decent amount of melody. I should have checked them out sooner. If you dig more traditional hard rock sounds with a bit of sleaze, this is your band!
Release Date:  June 25, 2021