In Flames-Foregone ©2023 Nuclear Blast Records
One of the heavier bands of the last couple of decades that I really dig is In flames. Didn't even have to debate whether to preorder this album or not, it was a must have. After going through it a few times, I am as happy as I could be with the results. The band have brought a very good balance of heavy and aggressive parts and mixed it with more melodic and atmospheric elements. I felt the album was quite consistent. Songs are structured very nicely and the performances by each member are really good. If you are a new fan or curious about In Flames, the band does have both clean vocals and growls. The music sounds very confident and I feel that fans old and new are probably going to like this one a lot. As for me, I dig it. The heavy stuff is really heavy and the melodic parts really add finesse. Definitely worthy of your listening time!
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Wig Wam-Out Of The Dark ©2023 Frontiers Records
Without even hearing the new Wig Wam album, I knew this was going to be good. It definitely does not disappoint in any way. More catchy hard rock tunes from the Norwegian rock 'n rollers. Not only are the songs memorable, but I loved the tone, particularly the guitar tone. Take a listen to some of the riffing, especially tracks like the title track 'Out Of The Dark' and 'Uppercut Shazam'. The songs have a good intensity about them, but there are also other cool things happening like the lead and backing vocal work of 'Forevermore'. This particular track is really smooth with a very cool vibe. Some of the tracks mentioned are also available via YouTube for you to check out. If you are familiar with Wig Wam, you probably already own this. They bring a quality to their music that doesn't dip. Once again, good quality listen!
Release Date: February 10, 2023
The Winery Dogs-III ©2023 Three Dog Music
If you are looking for something new that features some excellent musicianship, look no further than the third album by The Winery Dogs. For those unaware, the band is a three piece that features Richie Kotzen on guitars and vocals, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Mike Portnoy on drums. With that lineup, you know that both songwriting and performances are going to be of peak quality. You would be right. The band does have a bit of a busy sound at times due to play styles, but there is also a good balance that keeps everything enjoyable. The album to me is somewhere between the band's first and second album. It has actually been quite some time between this new album and 2015's 'Hot Streak'. These guys all keep busy, but when they do come together, expect something special. I really dig the blues element in some of these songs as well. Excellent once again!
Release Date: February 3, 2023
Issa-Lights Of Japan ©2023 Frontiers Records
Well, it took me long enough. I have been meaning to check out some of Issa's material and better late then never, I took in the new album 'Lights Of Japan'. Songs are very accessible and have a strong 80's feel to them. Issa's vocals are really good. Very melodic yet powerful at the same time. This new album is her seventh studio album and is full of all of the things that make great melodic hard rock music. Hooks, excellent choruses, and performances overall. I felt this batch of songs really had not only an instant likeability factor to them, but came across as being memorable as well. Very easy to keep in your head and there's no doubt, these would be very radio friendly, especially in the States in the 80's. Hits all over the place. With this being my intro (shame on me), it's a good bet that I will be eagerly awaiting new albums as they come in the future!
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Big City-Sunwind Sails ©2023 Frontiers Records
Seems like it was just yesterday that we were reviewing the band's album 'Testify X'. 'Sunwind Sails' brings more of that melodic metal goodness. The music is a step up in terms of intensity from where you would define melodic rock or metal. Good heavy riffs and intensity throughout, but a very good dose of melody as well. The songs are memorable once again. I like how the band can retain the amount of melody when working with a heavier tempo. It makes the music very interesting to listen to and the appeal for this band even higher. One of my favorite tracks is the riff-tastic 'Collin's Looking For A Hideout'. Very catchy heavier song. Some of my other favorites from this album include 'I'm Somebody', 'Now' 'Sunwind Sails' and the album closer 'Sparks Of Eternity'. The album as a whole is well written and performed and very good!
Release Date: January 27, 2023