Manimal-Armageddon   ©2021 AFM Records
​Fourth studio release for the power metal band out of Sweden. There are a lot of bands out there in the power metal genre and this one in particular always interests me. There is no denying their similarity to metal giants Judas Priest. The high octave vocals, guitar sound, etc. and some of the songwriting. It is important to note that although there are those similarities, there are some things that have Manimal distinguishing themselves. For a power metal sound, these songs tend to be quite catchy and memorable with this new record. I really like the rhythm guitar work on this album. That is part of the catchy nature I mention. Good chunky headbanging type stuff. In ways it reminds me a little of the Painkiller era of Judas Priest. The music can be quite heavy and tempo has a good faster pace. This one is probably my favorite Manimal record to date!
Release Date:  October 8, 2021
Robin Red-Robin Red    ©2021 Frontiers Records 
​As an introduction to fans, Robin Red is the lead vocalist of melodic rock band Degreed who we have reviewed here a few times in the past. Degreed release a fairly mainstream form of melodic rock that has a bit of an edge from time to time. Robin Red also sticks to that type of writing. Although not exactly the same type of songs they are relatively close. If you are a fan of Degreed, it's a good bet you will like Robin's solo record as well. Apparently Robin wanted to release a solo record for some time and upon delivering demos to Frontiers Records, they were happy to oblige. I don't hesitate ever to delve into anything related to Degreed including this record.  I would recommend checking the video offerings via YouTube. It's a good bet that if you like Robin's music, you'll want to grab this record and some of the Degreed music as well. Great artist!
Release Date:  September 17, 2021
Smith/Kotzen-Smith/Kotzen  ©2021 BMG Rights Mgmt. 
​Being a big fan of Iron Maiden, I am usually interested in the side material members do from time to time.  This release kind of surprised me. I would never have guessed that Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen would be working together. The results are splendid. Both handle guitar work and vocal work. What you get here is some good energetic blues infused rock music. With the talents of both musicians, you know that there is going to be some very cool back and forth. This happens in both areas, musically and vocally. The two compliment each other beautifully.  So how are the songs you might ask? Really good to be quite honest. Both musicians have shown a lot of skill through the years in other projects and bands. It is no surprise that working together is going to have great results. Expect solid musicianship, delivery and overall,  great songs!
Release Date:  March 26, 2021
Vega-Anarchy And Unity   ©2021 Frontiers Records
​The latest studio release from Vega is their 7th album overall. The thing I like about Vega is that they have a formula that they stick with when it comes to writing new music. You really do know what you can expect with every release and they deliver each time.  'Anarchy And Unity' is another album that fits the Vega mold. Good melodic hard rock songs that have a catchy vibe to them. If you are familiar with previous albums by the band, the music here is on par with those. Most tracks have good energy, but not to the point of leaning too heavy. Melody is key here. One track in particular I wanted to pint out was 'Live For Me'. Definitely my favorite. It shows a bit of progressive in the fact that it is fairly melodic and then changes tempo mid song and sounds equally cool. This is a great record by the band once again. Easy recommend as usual!
Release Date:  September 17, 2021
Kent Hilli-Vital 4   ©2021 Frontiers Records
​It's been a good year for Kent Hilli and his solo music. For those unaware, Kent fronts the melodic rock band Perfect Plan. He also released a solo album earlier this year titled 'The Rumble' that had some excellent music and is one of my favorite records so far this year. This 4 track EP is a collection of cover songs originally written by Joe Lyn Turner, Michael Bolton, Signal and Europe. The inspiration for the track selection was that these are the vocalists that influenced Hilli. The songs are done extremely well and Hilli does a masterful job as usual with the vocals. I believe that this EP is obtainable through digital distribution outlets. I purchased mine through Amazon. This release is similar to the EP done by Perfect Plan called 'Jukebox Heroes'. If you still haven't checked out Kent's solo material, you should really check this out along with 'The Rumble'!
Release Date:  September 3, 2021