Joel Hoekstra's 13-Crash Of Life   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​Those fans who are familiar with Whitesnake, Night Ranger, and more recently Revolution Saints will more than likely be familiar with guitarist Joel Hoekstra. He also lends his talents to other musicians from many different genres. One of the projects that he has worked on from more of a solo standpoint is Joel Hoekstra's 13. 'Crash Of Life' looks to be his third outing under that name. Musically, if you are familiar, you'll know what to expect. The songs are well written and his guitar playing tends to be flashy in places with good solos throughout. Joel surrounded himself with some of the finest veteran musicians including Vinny Appice, Tony Franklin, Derek Sherinian, and Girish And The Chronicles vocalist Girish Pradhan. Jeff Scott Soto also contributes backing vocals. All in all, this is another fine album full of good hard rock material!
Release Date:  June 16, 2023
Vendetta-Black As Coal    ©2023 Massacre Records 
​Through the years there have been a few bands that have been called Vendetta. This is the German Vendetta that actually dates back to the mid to late 80's. The band have a thrash sound with lots of great riffing and a thunderous and fast low end to match. This year has been a great year for the thrash metal genre. Vendetta adds to the good things being offered with a fairly explosive album. The band does embrace more traditional thrash vocal work that differs from some of the younger bands in the genre today. You as a listener will feel the confidence in this band through their music and delivery of such. The band did take a bit of a hiatus after the 1988 album 'Brain Damage' and returned with 2007's 'Hate'. 'Black As Coal' was another album that was written during the pandemic. It's a great contribution to the genre, and it's nice to have this band active!
Release Date:  July 14, 2023
Escape The Hive-This Is Gonna Sting  ©2023 Weapon Records/Vanity Music Group
​If you are looking for something in the rock genre, but leans more towards a 70's sound, look no further than Escape The Hive. This band features Michael Thomas Beck from Kings Of Dust and he has also worked with Jake E. Lee in Red Dragon Cartel a few years back. This album has some laid back tunes with a good warm tone to them. The music is fairly mainstream as you would expect and songs are fairly consistent overall. The album contains a cover of the Beatles classic 'Something' and quite honestly, the rest of the album feels right at home with this tune. There are some elements at play here that could help make the case for the 80's as well, but maybe more from bands of that era that were a bit less flashy. Mix these elements with today's technology and you have yourself a pretty decent eight track offering. Lot's of nostalgia in the sound of this one!
Release Date:  September 15, 2023
Vypera-Race Of Time   ©2023 Frontiers Records
​I love listening to this band. It's like a shot of deja vu as far as I am concerned. To me, this band sounds like they are straight out of 1985 or so. It was the case with the band's previous album 'Eat Your Heart Out' from last year. The guitar tone sounds 80's as does the production. It's a remarkable thing, especially if you lived through that era. This band nails it.  In ways they remind me a bit of Helix as I think I have mentioned before. Andreas Wallström has a similar sound to Helix's Brian Vollmer back in the day. This album to me is a good continuation from 'Eat Your Heart Out'. The band has a good formula at work and it pays dividends. Will this have great appeal to more modern fans? I really have no idea, but Vypera has a lot to offer and if given the chance should do well. They are showing no signs of slowing down. Another fun release!
Release Date:  June 16, 2023
Raven-All Hell's Breaking Loose   ©2023  Silver Lining Music
​If I was to go back and compare bands from now to earlier in their careers, you would find that Raven sounds like they did in the 80's. Same bombastic sound and the heaviness in their music is there and in ways may be even slightly heavier due to the drum prowess of Mike Heller. All three of the members of this band push the limits and the music is excellent as a result. You have to respect the fact that Raven was part of the NWOBHM movement and seem to deliver with each album. Sure, they might not appeal to everyone, but fans like myself love these guys and have been along for the ride the whole way. There is nobody quite like them. The album is ten tracks and just over 37 minutes in length. It may go quick, but it's very effective nonetheless. If you are familiar with the bigger part of their catalog, this is more of that. Pure over the top Raven at their best!
Release Date:  June 30, 2023