Seventh Wonder-Frontiers Reissues ©2023 Frontiers Records
This will be good news to many fans. Frontiers Records has reissued the early Seventh Wonder albums that have been out of print. I have reviewed a couple of these albums already going back to when they were newly released. You can find 'Become' here, and 'Waiting In The Wings' here. As for the other two, 'Mercy Falls' to me is a masterpiece. A conceptual album that tells the story of a car crash and as a man fights for life there are possible deceptions that could affect outcomes. Excellent stuff. 'The Great Escape' has some really good progressive infused music showing the band's capabilities. The album also features a the 30 minute epic title track 'The Great Escape'. Tommy Karevik became the band's vocalist just after 'Become' was released and does handle vocal duties on the albums after that one. Fans will also know his work as the frontman of Kamelot. These are essential progressive metal releases. All are really good in my opinion and were well worth seeking after. The band has added recent liner notes to the albums and they will also see vinyl releases exclusive to the Frontiers Webshops as well as Scandinavia. These vinyl versions will be limited editions. Essential!
Release Date: September 15, 2023
Bonfire-MMXXIII Editions ©2023 AFM Records
Here are some early necessary staples. The early Bonfire albums put the band on the hard rock map and are still go to albums to this day. It's probably not necessary to review the albums themselves as I believe most fans will be well aware of what these albums are, the music, and the importance they were to the genre and the hard rock scene in general. What these are will be more important. The band decided to go back in to the studio and re-record these classics with current vocalist Dyan Mair. There is also updated artwork and a more contemporary sound to the records as the band had today's technology to work with. The songs have been kept faithful. The lyrics and each musician's part to play has kept everything in check. It's all about updating the sound a bit and they did indeed succeed at that point. The albums themselves and the music within are definite hard rock staples. If you are a purist and don't want to see these redone, these may not be for you. The artwork changes are equally interesting. You'll notice some subtle changes, but also things in common with the original artwork. These really are nice re-records that stay faithful to the originals. Out now so enjoy!
Release Date: September 22, 2023
Van Halen-The Collection II ©2023 Warner Records
I was glad to see the Sammy Hagar era get some remasters. This is another batch of records that need no introduction or reviews for that matter. They have been very popular. It was just time to have a look at the remasters. The package I am reviewing is the compact disc version. The albums come in a box with each separate album being in a vinyl replica sleeve complete with an inner sleeve with lyrics, lineups, etc. There is also a 5th disc of studio rarities that has 8 tracks including the 2 from the 'Twister' original soundtrack. As far as the remasters themselves, I think it all sounds really good. I heard some things that I don't remember hearing before. It sounds like certain things like percussion elements as well as harmonies were highlighted a bit more. As far as my ears were concerned, I heard minor enhancements in clarity and things like that. As far as volume, I went back and forth between old and new and didn't notice a ton of difference there. I did take a look at levels in Audacity and there was only a minor increase shown there. Overall, I feel the enhancements were minor. We do know that the songs are good. It's a nice collection so do check this set out!
Release Date: October 6, 2023