All My Shadows-Eerie Monsters   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​I thought this was an interesting idea. All My Shadows consists of a large portion of Vanden Plas, and in many was sounds like Vanden Plas, but the idea here is to be more of a melodic hard rock band. The group does achieve that to a large part. There is quite a bit of sophistication to Vanden Plas and you can tell the band went for a more basic approach but does have a bit more to them than your average hard rock band. I think they achieved the goal and the album really is a must have. Songs are very memorable and do have that more melodic feel to them. You still could make the argument that it isn't far from what Vanden Plas does normally, but that's okay too. I will gladly take both Vanden Plas and All My Shadows as that means more great music output with slightly different styles. Very enjoyable listen in my opinion with top notch musicianship!
Release Date:  February 17, 2023
Godsmack-Lighting Up The Sky    ©2023 Godsmack/BMG Music 
​The band has claimed that this new album will be their last, but that they will continue touring and still be a band. If you want to leave a lasting mark from a writing standpoint, this is probably a good way to do it. Songs are definitely Godsmack in style. I found this album to be one that grows with each listen. First listen, I thought it was okay. As I took more in, it started really sticking with me. It feels like the band wrote this one from their heart. If it is the last work that they do from the studio, it will be a good one. The title track goes down as one of my favorite all time Godsmack tunes. I have a few songs here and there that I have gone back to. The best of the best. This song will join that bunch. Overall, I think fans will be pleased with this record, but there's no doubt that it will make them wish there was more eventually. You never know!
Release Date:  February 24, 2023
Robin McAuley-Alive  ©2023 Frontiers Records
​Robin McAuley is one great vocalist. I have been listening since the Grand Prix days through the MSG era and beyond. There is a quality to his voice that really adds to any tempo of music whether it be heavier or lighter. Recently he has been churning out some really good material and a lot of it tends to be a bit more edgy in terms of tempo. Good hard rocking stuff. Vocal work here is as good as ever, but I also love the guitar work on this record. Great riffs and excellent solos. This really does feel like a complete album to me. The kind where you know that everything was firing on all cylinders. There definitely is a good deal of melody, but most of the album is fairly crunchy. There is a decent amount of depth in areas as well.  If you have checked McAuley out recently or even back to the MSG stuff, and liked that, I guarantee that you will love this!
Release Date:  February 17, 2023
Redemption-I Am The Storm   ©2023 AFM Records
​As I started to listen to this album, it felt really familiar to me. That was due to the vocal work of Tom Englund from Evergrey. There are definite similarities with the two bands as his voice is fairly unique. For those unaware, the band is fairly progressive and at times reminded me of not only Evergrey, but certain points in Dream Theater's career as well as 'Streets' era Savatage.  This is the band that featured Ray Alder for some time. This new album is a solid 9 track listen with a couple of the songs being epics with running times of over 12 minutes. Plenty of that same atmosphere you would expect from these musicians. I do like both versions of 'The Emotional Depiction Of Light' with the remix version closing the album out. There is a lot here to enjoy, from the musicianship to the depth and subject material. Excellent as always!
Release Date:  March 17, 2023
Elysion-Bring Out Your Dead   ©2023 Massacre Records
​I had not heard this band before. Pretty sure I had run across them on YouTube at some point. Call me a huge fan at this point. I dug in due to liking the single 'Crossing Over' and the video for it. The band's music is gothic metal in nature and reminded me a bit of other bands that I have listened to in the past like Unsun or even Within Temptation earlier in their career. 'Buried Alive' really reminded me of Sharon Den Adel vocally. Singer Christianna really has a great set of pipes and the music is enhanced by her work. As good as everything is on this album, I really liked the middle of the album with the tracks 'As The Flower Withers' and 'Raid The Universe'. The guitar work sounds so good here. I was also a very big fan of the track 'Eternity'. Great guitar riffs with a good dose of heavy and atmospheric mixed. Absolutely excellent release!
Release Date:  March 17, 2023