Pyramaze-Bloodlines ©2023 AFM Records
Here is a band that continues to impress with each album. Through the years, if you have been paying attention through their catalog, you have seen the band grow and evolve. Musically, their is a definite progressive core here, but songs are so infectious with big choruses and the depth, that they feel a bit more mainstream than other bands in the genre. Their is an almost cinematic element to the bands latest batch of songs. The album's subject material is also thought provoking intentionally allowing the listener to develop their own impressions. Music you can not only enjoy, but you can relate to. With the sound the band deliver, it has the ability to grab the attention of both modern metal fans as well as more traditional and classic metal listeners as well. A very complete album and probably the bands best work to date. Superb!
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Slam-Slam ©2023 20th Century Music/Vanity Music Group
Being a big fan of Jeff Scott Soto, this particular release was of interest to me. Sessions for the material on this album were recorded between 1991 and 1993. Fans of Hanover Fist will also be interested as George Bernhardt was also on these recordings. The music in terms of style is hard rock with a decent amount of funk. I always loved the funk and R&B side of Jeff Scott Soto. He sings many different styles and does them all well. The songs are all quite good and for these being demos, the quality is also quite good. A couple of these tracks later appeared on Jeff's solo album 'Love Parade' and 'Wasting Our Time' and 'Dear God' were a part of Jeff's other band Talisman on the 'Humanimal' album. If you are familiar with those songs, you'll have a good idea of what Slam sounds like. I thought this record sounded great in terms of songs and production quality. Great!
Release Date: April 2023
St. Valentine-St. Valentine ©2023 20th Century Music/Vanity Music Group
There were a lot of bands that came out of that 80's Hollywood scene. Many hit the big time and others who showed a lot of promise didn't quite hit that same plateau. I can't say I was really ever that familiar with St. Valentine as I believe this is the first time their music has been made available. The recording sessions for this music came from around 1987-1988. This band was pretty big in that Hollywood scene and it really is unfortunate that it didn't get to a much bigger stage. The band musically reminds a bit of early Lillian Axe, before the more progressive elements came in. It's a more flashy hard rock sound similar to Lillian's first couple of records. You'll get 7 tracks and 3 live tracks. The quality is demo quality and the live stuff is a bit more rough. With the mark these guys made back in the day in that scene, it's great to have this release!
Release Date: April 2023
Michael Thompson Band-The Love Goes On ©2023 Frontiers Records
If you are looking for something a bit more on the melodic rock side, this album will definitely fill that need. Michael Thompson has a very impressive resume' doing a lot of session work and scoring. It's always a pleasure to get music from his band as it is always of the highest quality. Richard 'Moon' Calhoun brings the vocals on this release and has a very inspirational story of his own not to mention a good resume'. Songs on this album are extremely well crafted. I have been spending a bunch of time with this album. In terms of quality, the album is very consistent. I absolutely love the smooth guitar style that Thompson displays. 'My Forever June' has such a soulful guitar solo. Reminded me a lot of Gary Moore's work on 'The Loner' from 'Wild Frontier'. This is a must have album. Music to appease the senses and chill to. Excellent!
Release Date: May 12, 2023
Sweet & Lynch-Heart & Sacrifice ©2023 Frontiers Records
I have really enjoyed this collaboration between Dokken and Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch and Stryper's Michael Sweet. I seem to find different reasons that I love each album. Sometimes it's the melodic stuff. This go around it is the heavier stuff. The album opens like a raging rhino with the title track 'Heart & Sacrifice'. There are quite a few heavier moments throughout this album. I also absolutely loved Lynch's playing, both rhythm and the solo work. At times the songs had a vintage Dokken feel to them. The solos, wow. Lynch still has a ton of energy in his playing. Sweet is also amazing as always. The notes this guy can still hit is amazing. Together, it's excellent chemistry. The songs all benefit from this chemistry and the listen as always is excellent. There is also good rock variety in this group of songs. Overall, you knew this was gonna be good, and it delivered!
Release Date: May 19, 2023