Stardust-Kingdom Of Illusion   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​Stardust have returned with their second album titled 'Kingdom Of Illusion'. This is another really good album full of melodic hard rock tunes. The band writes really catchy and memorable music and show some good diversity on this latest record. While you could group them with other hard rock acts due to similarities, the little things stand out here in my opinion. Take for instance the rhythm work on tracks like 'Heroes'. They just sound great. Other tracks like 'Sacrifice' stand out for different reasons. This particular track had me thinking 80's Saga to a point. 'Sarah' add another sound to the record. Overall, there is definitely a decent amount of variety throughout. The band also covers the Cinderella classic 'Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone) and due a pretty faithful job. If you dig 80's hard rock and a bit of variety, this release is stellar as expected!.
Release Date:  June 16, 2023
Schattenmann-Dia de Muertos    ©2023 AFM Records 
​Been following Schattenmann for the last few years. The band bring a more modern sound vocalized in their native German language. They embrace big riffs with a fairly mainstream feel to their music. They do offer a different feel through some of their songs however. The title track 'Die De Muertos' has a good visual aspect to it. 'Jeder ist schlecht' reminded me of the American band Dope in ways. 'Dickpic' has a bit of a commercial feel to it and features Anna Lux offering additional vocals. The band definitely display a catchy nature to each song. This makes the experience for the listener to be fairly upbeat and a lot of fun. For your average listener, you will have to navigate the lyrics in a foreign language, but other bands have had much success regardless of this. Another good record by the band showing continued growth!
Release Date:  June 30, 2023
KrashKarma-Falling To Pieces  ©2023 Rockshots Records
​If you are looking for something on the rowdy side, look no further than the duo that call themselves KrashKarma. The band's sound is definitely more modern and to me had some In Flames vibes to it. The two members cover all of the instrumentation. You might ask how that is possible. Well, Niki Skistimas handles drums and female vocals and Ralf Dietel offers guitar, bass and male vocals including harsh vocal work. An interesting note. Ralf actually plays what he calls a guitar/bass which allows him to play both parts off of the same instrument. It's a cool idea that works. Songs are heavy yet carry a bit of a catchy feel. The band does know how to bring the energy. The band have combined many different elements including modern metal, Industrial and maybe even some classical. It offers a full bodied sound that is fun to listen to!
Release Date:  June 23, 2023
Pride Of Lions-Dream Higher   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​Returning for their seventh album is Toby Hitchcock and Jim Peterik, otherwise known in the melodic rock community as Pride Of Lions. It should come as no surprise to no one that the same quality the band have become know for is here once again. Melodic rock songs with excellent arrangements, performances and vocal work. The music on this record would fit very nicely with anything back in the 80's and on the radio at that time. As I made my way through the album, it was obvious how consistent it was. These guys have a track record of being just that, consistent. The chemistry is always good as well and this album showcases that once again. I'm glad these guys come back from time to time. They have a lot to offer the genre as far as I'm concerned. The music has a confident feel and is very easy to get into. Excellent as usual!
Release Date:  June 16, 2023
Voivod-Morgöth Tales   ©2023 Century Media Records
​The return of sci-fi metal and thrash. Voivod to me has always been an interesting band to follow. I have been listening to them for a long time and was a really big fan of 'The Outer Limits' album.  I have always felt they were unique. They kind of have their own place in the metal genre. The music does have certain things in common with other metal bands, but nobody quite sounds like Voivod. 2023 marks 40 years for the band. This new album is a collection of re-recorded 2023 versions of songs throughout their career. The songs go clear back to the 'Metal Massacre V' compilation through their catalog and to the final new track 'Morgöth Tales' which was written last year. I also thought the track selection was good. Sure, some fans may have wanted to see other tracks redone, but I feel that this should please Voivod fans. Hoping for a new studio album soon!
Release Date:  July 21, 2023