Creye-III: Weightless   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​Easily one of my more anticipated releases of 2023. I absolutely love Creye's style of melodic hard rock. Sort of has a modern feel, but has all of the traditional elements as well. The band really hit it out of the park with their last album 'II' and the start of the tenure with vocalist August Rauer. This new album continues to deliver what Creye always has, but also shows growth in the band's songwriting. There is a strong melodic presence with this album as the band always has, but there is also some good edge to it as well. You can feel the increased confidence as the band builds their chemistry. I found the album to be a good overall listen with plenty of favorite tracks. I really liked the melodic and atmospheric track 'Stay'. In ways it had a some rich tone to it that reminded me of Breaking Benjamin's 'Ashes of Eden' in approach. Excellent stuff as always!
Release Date:  February 17, 2023
T3nors-Naked Soul    ©2023 Frontiers Records 
​Frontiers is never shy about trying different things. This time we get an album chock full of amazing tunes that feature that vocal talents of some of the best melodic rock singers of today.  You'll get a combination of Perfect Plan's Kent Hilli, Pride Of Lions' Toby Hitchcock, and Find Me's Robbie LaBlanc. One thing that jumps out immediately is how well the three harmonize together. It gives the vocal parts a very full bodied feel and the results are definitely top notch. The music on the album is equally as impressive as is the vocals. You'll get a melodic hard rock similar to the bands that each vocalist represents. This project apparently was an idea a few years ago and the singers were selected and it came to fruition. This is going to be one of those projects that I hope sees more output eventually. All 3 vocalists keep quite busy, but this would be fun to revisit!
Release Date:  February 10, 2023
Delain-Dark Waters  ©2023 Napalm Records
​Delain recently went through some lineup changes including the departure of Charlotte Wessels and the introduction of new vocalist Diana Leah. Also returning to the band are original members Ronald Landa and Sander Zoer. Also new is bassist Ludovico Cioffi. Obviously quite a bit has changed but after listening to the new record, the band sounds really fresh. The chemistry with these members really works. I've always liked the output of music from Delain and am happy that they have been able to come back strong. The music is symphonic as usual and songs I feel are strong. As they have in the past, the band have included instrumental versions of the album as well. While interesting to have, I always go for the vocalized versions, but it is a nice addition for the completists. Another solid outing with a revamped lineup makes this an easy recommend!
Release Date:  February 10, 2023
First Signal-Face Your Fears   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​It has been just under a year since the previous First Signal record. Harry Hess is always great with First Signal and this latest addition to the band's catalog is no exception. His vocals sound great and I liked the heavier edge throughout. Obviously based in melodic hard rock, the band does have a good gritty sound with this record without losing the trademark melodies that always gel well with Hess' voice. If you are already familiar with First Signal, you'll have a pretty good idea with each album what you are going to get as they are consistent each time. 'Face Your Fears' has some very cool tunes on it and I felt that it kept me interested through the entire listen. Personal favorites include 'Unbreakable', 'Shoot The Bullet', 'Never Gonna Let You Go', and the melodic 'In The Name Of Love'.  First Signal deliver yet another great album as expected!
Release Date:  February 17, 2023
Khymera-Hold Your Ground   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​You know, anything that Dennis Ward is associated with is usually top notch stuff. From his work in Pink Cream 69 to this latest Khymera record, he really sets a bar. 'Hold Your Ground's a great collection of melodic hard rock material. That melodic element really drives this record. That's not to say this is a lighter rock record either. The music is based in a mid tempo rhythm and songs would be considered quite radio friendly for the most part. As I made my way through this album, it was amazing at just how good each track is. Each song has it's own identity, but feels as it's a part of the bigger picture. So much consistency. Production quality is as good as the performances on the album. Outside of PC69, this is some of my favorite music that Ward is involved with. If you are looking for top notch melodic hard rock, Khymera is always recommended!
Release Date:  February 10, 2023