Friday, February 24, 2017

COASTLAND RIDE - Distance (2017)

COASTLAND RIDE - Distance (2017) full

Swedish AOR act COASTLAND RIDE and German record label Avenue Of Allies continue their partnership with the release of the band’s third album “Distance” on March 10th, 2017.
Originally a studio project, almost 20 years after the foundation stone for the band was laid, Coastland Ride made their live debut as a six-piece band on the 2016 edition of Rock Weekend AOR in Stockholm in front of an absolutely delighted audience.

Few days ago, Coastaland Ride celebrated the release of the digital single 'Winds' and the upcoming release of their brand new album with a concert in their hometown and with the new set of songs under their belt, the guys are ready to enter the stage again and fly the flag of classy AOR from Sweden.

Delivering perfectly arranged catchy Scandinavian AOR with L.A. Westcoast influences is still the game of the three gentlemen from Sundsvall, who started Coastland Ride back in 1997: Markus Nordenberg (lead & background vocals, keyboards), Anders Rybank (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums & programming, background vocals) and Mikael Bohlin (guitars, keyboards & programming).
However, on this new album I can hear a beefed-up sound.

“Distance” is a highly enjoyable affair kicking off with the hook laden “Winds”, including a guitar solo by Lars Chriss (Lion’s Share).
The lead guitar work of Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Sapphire Eyes, Lionville) is featured on the mid-paced tunes “Saviour”, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Reasons To Try”. Sven can as well be heard on five more tracks, also changing over to the acoustic guitar for a solo on the ballad “Here In My Heart”.

To spice up their sound, the band added some harder rocking guitars on tunes like “Dead For Seven Days”, "Nation Of Grace" and “Princess’ Little Wonderland” and invited their local musical friends, Tomas Lundgren and Hansi Fellbrink of the band Roulette, to add background vocals on “Higher Ground”.

Coastland Ride's motto always has been 'elegance', and they still maintain this characteristic, but now, for their 3rd album “Distance” they have added a welcomed 'edge' to the proceedings.
Having talented Sven Larsson providing almost all the guitar solos (some of them really on fire) is a clear proof of the band intention for a more rocking approach.
If you like you Scandi Melodic Rock / AOR honed with attention to the minimum detail and served with a crisp production, Coastland Ride's new effort is a must to your ears.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. Winds
02. Saviour
03. Love Is on Your Mind
04. Dead for Seven Days
05. Here in My Heart
06. Eye of the Storm
07. Nation of Grace
08. Spotlight Sun
09. Higher Ground
10. Princess Little Wonderland
11. Hardcoded Life
12. Reasons to Try

Markus Nordenberg (lead & background vocals, keyboards)
Mikael Bohlin (guitars, keyboards & programming)
Anders Rybank (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, background vocals)
Lars Chriss (Lion’s Share) - guitar
Sven Larsson (Sapphire Eyes, Lionville) - guitar
Tomas Lundgren & Hansi Fellbrink (Roulette) - background vocals


ASIA - Symfonia, Live In Bulgaria (2017)

ASIA - Symfonia, Live In Bulgaria (2017) full

Released by Frontiers Music today, ASIA's "Symfonia, Live In Bulgaria", a live set recorded in 2013, will serve as their memorial to singer John Wetton who passed away last month at the age of 67.

Taped on September 21, 2013 during the Sounds Of The Ages Festival a the IInd Century Roman Theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the band, which included Wetton, drummer Carl Palmer, keyboard player Geoff Downes, and guitarist Sam Coulson (who had recently replaced Steve Howe) played a selection of their strongest songs from throughout their long career.
As an added bonus, the band was even joined by The Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Levon Manukian, on a selection of tracks.

Featuring all the mandatory tunes from the very first two Asia albums, such as "Sole Survivor", "Time Again", "Only Time Will Tell", "Don't Cry", "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", "Wildest Dreams", and their mega-hit "Heat of the Moment", the band mixes in later period songs like "The Face on the Bridge", Heroine", "Holy War", and "An Extraordinary Life" from the XXX, Phoenix, and Omega albums.
A cool treat is the inclusion of "Days Like These" from the Then & Now album, an upbeat track that is sort of a forgotten gem from that mid '90s set.

The orchestra comes into play for the second half of the concert and adds a little bit of majestic grandeur alongside Downes' keyboard flourishes, but overall this concert is ultimately about how powerful Wetton's vocals still were.
The record is a good opportunity as well to taste the metallic guitar skills of Coulson. The youngster is about as different from Steve Howe as you can get, but his flashy playing actually works quite well on these AORish proggy classics.

ASIA - Symfonia, Live In Bulgaria (2017) inside

While some might say that the last thing we need is another Asia live album, this one comes as many of us are still mourning the death of Wetton, and he's the star here.
And honestly, we can never get enough of that magic voice.
Highly Recommended

01. Sole Survivor
02. Time Again
03. The Face On The Bridge
04. My Own Time
05. Holy War
06. An Extraordinary Life
07. Days Like These
08. Open Your Eyes
09. Only Time Will Tell
10. Don't Cry
11. Heroine
12. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
13. Wildest Dreams
14. Heat Of The Moment

John Wetton – bass, lead vocals
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Carl Palmer – drums
Sam Coulson - guitars


STEFANIE - Stefanie (2017)

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And here's comes a great surprise this year; "STEFANIE", the fantastic debut cd from American female singer Stefanie Johnson, yet released by a UK record label. It happens that the woman does classy AOR / melodic rock, a style not so much appreciated by the current US musical industry.

Singing and writing songs since a young girl, Stefanie Johnson hails from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Her professional musical experience is varied and significant: performing at Allentown's popular Musikfest, appearing in local television station WLVT's Steel Sessions, performing at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe and 12th & Porter, and then on to perform at the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2011.
This year she releases her self-titled debut album, "Stefanie", through England's Escape Music specialized label.

To describe her voice, Stefanie has a bold melodic presence, both strong and smooth. Her style ranges from a classic rock singer to soaring pop diva, and you may hear that American FM AOR waves as well.
Similarly, her music and songwriting style traverse those same motifs. It would be fair to drop her music into the overarching genre of AOR / melodic rock without diminishing either her talent or the depth and breadth of her songs.
Suffice to say, you will be captured by both her voice and her music, equally and exceptionally paired together.

As for the songs, there's simply not a runt in the litter or, stealing a cliche used often in hard rock and heavy metal: it's all killer and no filler.
Certainly, I can say that I liked some songs over others. But considered as a whole, these eleven tracks are beautifully well-crafted and pleasing AOR / melodic rock tunes.
You get some fine rockers with 'All I Know', 'Stranger', 'Master Of Disguise', or the very catchy 'One Life'. Something more akin to '80s pop with a melodic rock envelope comes with 'Everything You Need' with it's playful piano line.

Then you get to hear Stefanie's smoother and softer side, yet wrapped in her powerful vocal presence, with anthems and ballads such as 'Word Man', 'Hello Love', 'The Song I Was Meant To Write' and 'We Will Fight'. Those last two showcase the emotion in her voice and, for you guitar fans, the latter has a killer guitar solo.

STEFANIE - Stefanie (2017) back

It's pretty much all good. Stefanie Johnson's self-titled debut is an exceptional album of delightful AOR / melodic rock, featuring her immense vocal talent within well-crafted songs and a crisp production.
They do not make albums like this anymore, so if you love that classy late '80s female fronted sound & melodies with an updated touch, "Stefanie" is must.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - All I Know
02 - Master of Disguise
03 - Stranger
04 - Everything You Need
05 - Word Man
06 - Hello Love
07 - One Life
08 - In My Shoes
09 - The Second Time Around
10 - The Song I Was Meant to Write
11 - We Will Fight

Vocals - Stefanie Johnson
Acoustic Guitar - Paul Franceschini
Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards - Brian J. Anthony
Special Guests:
Guitar - Paul Crook (Meat Loaf), Ken Dubman (Prophet)
Keyboards - Charlie Calv (Shotgun Symphony, Punky Meadows)
Backing Vocals - Hasan Smith, Tonya Price, Shekinah Glory Kee


Thursday, February 23, 2017

LIONVILLE - A World Of Fools (2017)

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It was time for AOR institution LIONVILLE to be signed by Frontiers Music; “A World Of Fools” is their third album and their debut for the label to be released this week.
Born as a high profile project dedicated to pure AOR with a touch of Westcoast and melodic rock, Lionville draw inspiration from acts like Toto, Giant, Bad English, Survivor...

Lionville are back after an extended break (their second album came out in 2012) always conducted by main man guitarist / songwriter Stefano Lionetti, plus Work Of Art’s vocalist Lars Säfsund whose singing style suits the AOR sound on this album down to the ground.
This band really nail that classic '80s Toto sound on ‘Our Good Goodbye’, from the keys through to the percussion and backing vocals (if you didn’t know better you’d swear it was David Paich on backing vocals).

A highlight for me is ‘One More Night’, that allows the band to add in a little more elaborated keyboards than the usual, which are swiftly followed by a soaring guitar solo while the vocal harmonies are near perfect.
Lionville really have upped their game on this one paying attention to each little musical detail.

The album delivers more quality AOR wig outs like ‘Show Me The Love’ and slow building ballads such as ‘Heaven Is Right Here’. If you need arena-ready catchiness, 'Bring Me Back Our Love', is your sure fire single.
The band provide variation with the bit heavier rocker 'Paradise' and the brisk paced hard rocker 'I Will Wait', one of the most energetic songs Lionville ever recorded.

For '80s styled Melodic Rock / AOR delivered here in the modern age, it just doesn't get much better than the music that Lionville are cranking out on “A World Of Fools”.
Instantly memorable melodies, big fat production values, strong vocals, and stellar musicianship brings all of this together, resulting in another winner from the folks at Frontiers Records.

01.I Will Wait
02.Show me the Love
03.Bring Me Back Our Love
04.Heaven Is Right Here
05.A World of Fools
06.One More Night
07.All I Want
08.Livin' On the Edge
09.Our Good Goodbye
11.Image of Your Soul

Lars Säfsund: Lead & Backing vocals
Stefano Lionetti: Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
Michele Cusato: Guitars
Giulio Dagnino: Bass
Martino Malacrida: Drums


MIKE TRAMP - Maybe Tomorrow (2017)

MIKE TRAMP - Maybe Tomorrow (2017) full

Former White Lion frontman MIKE TRAMP will release his tenth solo album, "Maybe Tomorrow", on February 24, 2017 via Mighty Music / Target Group. The CD is without doubt one of the Danish singer / songwriter's finest efforts so far, and the nature of the music is deeply personal.
"Maybe Tomorrow" was recorded at Medley Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, once again with Tramp's trusted partner Søren Andersen behind the knobs and on guitar.

Tramp is a fantastic songwriter and a great storyteller and this "Maybe Tomorrow" comes soon after the quick fire trilogy of Cobblestone Street, Museum and Nomad, all released in consecutive years. If you liked those albums then you’ll be glad to hear that this new one very much continues the theme.
What's nice about Mike Tramp, all these years after White Lion, is his honesty and confidence. He has settled vocally, and any high-pitched squelching he was compelled to peel off during the '80s has matured into a sage, everyday rocker's intonation.

The album has a rockier opening with 'Coming Home', before becoming a mid-tempo track that he does so well. Most of the songs on offer here are fairly stripped down and from the heart but what sets Tramp apart from the rest is the quality of his songwriting.

He excels on the rocking, thoughtful tracks such as 'Rust and Dust' and 'Leaving One Day', then the album closer, the more melancholic title track 'Maybe Tomorrow'.
The haunting 'Time and Place', which consists of just vocals and a simply beautiful piano backing track is a staggering piece of work, while 'What More Can I Say' has a fantastic bounce to it.

MIKE TRAMP - Maybe Tomorrow (2017) back

Yet to release a less than stunning album, Mike Tramp just seems to get better with each new record.
"Maybe Tomorrow" is, put simply, a superb piece of work. Here’s to an artist whose voice just improves with age, and his way to craft an emotional rocking song is truly hard to match.

01. Coming Home
02. It's Not How We Do It
03. Spring
04. Would I Lie to You
05. Rust and Dust
06. Leaving One Day
07. Time and Place
08. What More Can I Say
09. Why Even Worry at All
10. Maybe Tomorrow

Mike Tramp (vocals, guitar)
Soren Andersen (guitar)
Morten Buchholtz (keyboards)
Jesper Haugaard (bass)
Morten Hellborn (drums)


JIMI ANDERSON GROUP - Longtime Comin' (2017)

JIMI ANDERSON GROUP - Longtime Comin' (2017) full

Scottish AOR vocalist Jimi Anderson has been plying his trade in melodic rock circles for a fair few years now, most notably with Legends Of AOR project and tribute band A Foreigners Journey, which awesome album was featured in this blog years ago. Now it's time for his JIMI ANDERSON GROUP debut "Longtime Comin'", with all songs penned by Anderson himself.

As the album title suggests, Jimi has finally gotten around to issuing an album under his own name and for influences you need look no further than the aforementioned bands with some Bad Company, Whitesnake and Thunder thrown in for good measure.
But, after listening to the record, it was very readily apparent to me that this guy shouldn’t only be behind the mic in a tribute band singing covers of other bands. No, with a voice like Jimi has been blessed with, he needs to be out there doing his own material, and this record is a fine start for him as it delivers 12 tracks of pure AOR goodness!

Jimi has been supported on the album by fellow Scottish musicians Sandy Jones (guitar, bass, drums) and Greame Duffin (guitars) who is best known for being the long-time unofficial member of 80's/90's pop act Wet Wet Wet.
All the music packed in "Longtime Comin" is splendid, catchy songs and really just some excellent AOR that should make any fan of the genre very happy.

From the grooving melody of ‘Same Old Song‘, the swagger of ‘Let’s Get Serious‘, the hard rocking ‘Welcome To The Revolution‘ and ‘Higher Than Higher‘ (which prove the considerable chops of guitarist Greame Duffin), to the somewhat bluesy vibe of the title track, ‘Oh Why‘, an elegant song that Foreigner would be proud of, and the beautiful ballad ‘Where Do We Go From Here‘, this record is a near perfect one that I couldn’t be more thrilled about.

Anderson possesses the sort of melodic rock voice that really makes the listener stop what they are doing and take notice, and certainly he could draw favorable comparisons with Brian Howe, Danny Vaughn or Jeff Scott Soto.
Strong, clear, soulful and just an all around wonderful set of pipes that fits the styling of the classic '80s melodic rock sound that this record has going on.

JIMI ANDERSON GROUP - Longtime Comin' (2017) back

There are some terrific and memorable moments on "Longtime Comin" and perhaps after all the years of paying tribute to classic artists it is time for Jimi Anderson to step into the spotlight under his own guise; this album proves he certainly possesses the talent to do so.

01. Same Old Song
02. Let's Get Serious
03. Spread It All Around
04. Feel Like Letting Go
05. Better This Way
06. Welcome to the Revolution
07. Higher Than Higher
08. Longtime Comin'
09. Where Do We Go from Here
10. Necessary People
11. Best for Me
12. Oh Why

Jimi Anderson - vocals, keyboards
Sandy Jones - guitar, bass, drums
Greame Duffin - guitar


UNRULY CHILD - Can't Go Home (2017)

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Frontiers Music have managed to pull many classic acts out of hibernation over the years, and now they can add another one to the list in the form of early '90s AOR band UNRULY CHILD, fronted by the unique Marcie Free. "Can't Go Home" is the title of their delicious new album to be released this week.

Original vocalist Marcie Free (King Kobra, Signal), drummer Jay Schellen (Hurricane, World Trade, Asia), bassist Larry Antonio (Pablo Cruise), guitarist Bruce Gowdy (World Trade, Stone Fury), and keyboard player Guy Allison (World Trade, Doobie Brothers, Lodgic) have reunited for "Can't Go Home", an upbeat set of hook-laden melodic rock tunes powered by Free's still sparkling vocals and plenty of crisp arrangements.

"Driving Into the Future", "The Only One", "Four Eleven", and the AOR sweetness "She Can't Go Home" feature a never ending supply of soaring vocals from Free, the band doing a great job of writing memorable melodies with catchy choruses for the veteran singer to shine on.
And there's even a few potent hard rockers, such as "Point of View", "Get on Top", "Sunlit Sky", and "Ice Cold Sunshine" that contain enough guitar & keyboard firepower to appeal to fans of Styx, Toto, Journey, etc.
Power ballads? Yep, sure, they are here too, with "When Love Is Here" being especially rewarding, again featuring a stellar Free vocal performance.

UNRULY CHILD - Can't Go Home (2017) inside

Fans of classic Melodic Hard Rock / AOR will be delighted by "Can't Go Home", a bright comeback album for Unruly Child. You won't find easily a 24 carat vocalist like Marcie Free, so press play and enjoy this incredibly talented performer.
Hopefully this isn't just a one-off from Unruly Child and they are indeed back for the long term. The Melodic Hard Rock / AOR genre needs this band, a band a of this quality.
HIGHLY Recommended

01. The Only One
02. Four Eleven
03. Driving Into The Future
04. Get On Top
05. See If She Floats
06. She Can't Go Home
07. Point Of View
08. Ice Cold Sunshine
09. When Love Is Here
10. Sunlit Sky

Marcie Free – Vocals
Bruce Gowdy – Guitars
Guy Allison – Keyboards
Larry Antonino – Bass
Jay Schellen – Drums


AGE OF REFLECTION - In The Heat Of The Night (2017)

AGE OF REFLECTION - In The Heat Of The Night (2017) full

AGE OF REFLECTION’s acronym A.O.R. is an apt name for this new Scandinavian band as their style is in the pure AOR variety. We already featured their EP here on the blog, and now the guys are releasing their full length CD "In The Heat Of The Night" via, of course, AOR Heaven Records.

I was surprised to discover that the musicians who make up the core of this band were previously in an industrial metal band as there is no connection in style whatsoever this is Eighties inspired AOR / melodic rock.
But seems these folks wanted to create a timeless album in this genre's purest sense and they did so with loving affection... and great results.

On my first listen through "In The Heat Of The Night" I am impressed of how Age Of Reflection has evolved from the debut EP, both in musicianship and songwriting.
The songs are really well crafted with a defined vision for the overall classy sound. It’s obvious these musicians have a passion and love for the genre - I am sure they grow up listening to it - so thanks to their parents for the '80s discography!

However, whilst it is pure AOR, the guitars are slightly harder edged which gives the album a nice punch and the keyboards are subtler but still critical to the band's overall sound, like the ivory hook on ‘Blame It On My Heart’ which had me biting my lip in ecstasy.
Sticking to eleven tracks also means no filler has slipped into the mix making the album more impressive when you listen to it as a whole.

There's radio hits in the waiting like ‘Every Time’ and ‘Evelyn’ that excite me most. These tracks alone should make Age Of Reflection instant AOR heroes.
But I know listeners will also be impressed with the mesmerising ‘The Mirror Never Lies’ and the understated ballad ‘Always’ with its vocal harmony embellished chorus.

Erik Martensson who is doing his best to become a genre legend with his songwriting, producing and with his own band Eclipse, has mixed & mastered this album and has done a superb job for Age Of Reflection as the songs really benefit from his luxurious work behind the desk.

"In The Heat Of The Night" has everything an AOR fan desires and it’s on show in abundance throughout the album. There’s lots of delicious melodies, big choruses, smooth vocal harmonies and songs that have a beautifully mesmerising tone.
The smooth vocals and driven guitars will really capture fans interest and I can see this album been talked about a lot in the coming months.
Welcome to the classy AOR / Melodic Rock scene Age Of Reflection.
HIGHLY Recommended

01 - Borderline
02 - The Mirror Never Lies
03 - Every Time
04 - In the Heat of the Night
05 - Always
06 - Evelyn
07 - Blame It on My Heart
08 - Now and Forever
09 - You Are My Light
10 - Dying for Your Love
11 - Every Time

Lars Nygren: Lead Vocals, Background vocals
Jonas Nordquist: Lead guitar
Michael Sjöö: Drums
Carl Berglund: Guitar, Background vocals, Keyboards
Jan Skärming: Bass, Background vocals


TOKYO MOTOR FIST - Tokyo Motor Fist (2017)

TOKYO MOTOR FIST - Tokyo Motor Fist (2017) full

TOKYO MOTOR FIST is the new exciting melodic hard rock project formed by guitarist/producer Steve Brown of Trixter and Danger Danger's singer Ted Poley, and believe me, their self-titled debut to be released by Frontiers Music this week is a must have.

Tokyo Motor Fist is exactly what you would expect from the talented pair from New Jersey: catchy and uplifting melodic hard rock, with all that late '80s feel the way it should be done for this genre.
You want big – I mean, BIG - hooks? You got ‘em. What about major guitar riffs? Of course there’s plenty of those. Killer rhythm section? Well, with Greg Smith (Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Alice Cooper) and legendary Chuck Burgi (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Lynn Turner) you simply can’t go wrong.

Ted and Steve have been friends for a long time. They were playing the same club circuit with their respective bands, Danger Danger and Trixter, when both bands were starting their careers. Over the years, they kept a great personal relationship and the idea of doing a record together has been in the cards for many years. Now, thanks to Frontiers this concept has become a reality.
Album opener 'Pickin’ Up The Pieces' encompasses all ingredients prominent in feel-good songs that made melodic hard rock so memorable. Thunderous drum pounds? Tick. Choral background vocals? Tick. Outlandish mid-section solo? Tick. Lyrics surrounding heartbreak? Tick.
A sure promising start to the eleven track album.

The record keeps rocking with 'Love Me Insane', the wave of cascading guitar of 'Black And Blue' and the adrenaline pumping 'You're My Revolution', all blazing and catchy numbers.
'Love', the first ballad, is actually quite subtle and understated, the other is called 'Don't Let Me Go', and there’s some great strings and a soul-searching Poley vocals to go with the great refrain. Top class tune.

The quality though just continues relentlessly: 'Put Me To Shame' is like the lost child of Danger Danger & early Def Leppard with a Steve Clark style riff and nice vocal thrust, and 'Done To Me' has a similarly big and chugging riff with a nice melodic hook. Easily it could well be chosen as the best song from the album.

TOKYO MOTOR FIST - Tokyo Motor Fist (2017) inside

Then we have a monster midtempo semi-ballad in 'Get You Off My Mind'. It turns upon an arena ready melody and rich chorus wrapped in a killer melody. A lighter-waver which ticks all the AOR Power Ballad boxes greatly. But the rock n' roll continues and roars with the brisk & kickin' closer 'Fallin' Apart', another ruxh of a song.

Tokyo Motor Fist‘s self-titled release epitomises the feel and spirit of the members’ former bands with all that magic intact. Tokyo Motor Fist plays classic melodic hard rock, more the '80s variety with a slight edge, and a definite AOR tone.
Everything about the songs rock with harmony and melody, rhythm and groove, an abundance of catchy hooks whether by arrangement, refrains, or vocal harmonies, and oodles of soaring guitar solos from Brown. Poley is on fire, never sounding better with his smooth and strong, melodic and passionate, vocal style.
One of the albums of the year folks. Don't miss this winner.

01. Pickin’ Up The Pieces
02. Love Me Insane
03. Shameless
04. Love
05. Black And Blue
06. You’re My Revolution
07. Don’t Let Me Go
08. Put Me To Shame
09. Done To Me
10. Get You Off My Mind
11. Fallin’ Apart

Ted Poley – Vocals
Steve Brown – Guitars, vocals
Greg Smith – Bass
Chuck Burgi – Drums, Percussion


BLOODBOUND - War Of Dragons (2017)

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At this time and age, talking about dragons in a metal musical context is bit... dated. But that's exactly what BLOODBOUND in their new album "War Of Dragons" to be released tomorrow. It's cheesy, yes, but darn fun and entertaining, as now their style slightly changed for a more commercial sound.

Swedes have been altering their approach from album to album in an attempt to find some mythological metallic sweet spot. Starting life as a cracking traditional metal group, they subsequently drifted into borderline Euro-power and back several times with varied results. On 2014s Stormborn they took things quite deep into D&D Euro-puffery territory with a threadbare Game of Thrones concept. While far from stellar, it worked after a fashion and offered a few fun moments.
As is obvious from the title and LARPilicious cover, War of Dragons takes that style and simply rocks right into Mordor with it. Does this foretell of their demise via critical fire or rebirth via Rhapsody OF Fire? It’s a fine, fine line.

After a short intro, “Battle in the Sky” drops a 5-ton rind of gooey cheddar on you with such a shamelessly over-the-top bombast and medieval lyrics. Seriously, when the chorus hits with all its symphonic operatic bombast and more keys than that weird little dude in The Matrix sequel, you’ll either bust out laughing or be completely spellbound depending on your relative tolerance for orc products.
As much as I want to mock and ridicule it, I can’t deny the song is darn fun. And somehow, there are more like it.

“Tears of the Dragonheart” (really, guys?) is an equally ridiculous yet fun, anthemic slice of Euro-pop power with just enough grit to make it palatable. Yeah, you read well, Euro-pop.
“Silver Wings” is the best song Bloodbound has written in years, infusing a folksy Celtic swing. It’s almost impossible to dislike and shows these cats can write really infectious tunes when the moon is in the right quadrant of the celestial zenith during its dark apogee.

Songs like “Stand and Fight,” “Fallen Heroes” and “Symphony Satana” all make free and open use of the classic melodic metal sound to good effect, and “War of Dragons” is overblown in the way good Euro-power must be.
Even the disastrously titled “Dragons Are Forever” (really, guys?: Part Deux) will have you singing along after a cautious glance over your shoulder to ensure you’re all alone.

BLOODBOUND - War Of Dragons (2017) back

There are no bad songs on "War Of Dragons" and all dwell in that mysterious middle ground between catchy and silly. The 45-minute runtime is wise, as the slightest hint of additional dairy might cause this whole thing to explode like a Dragon Bomb Z.
The production is much less brickwalled than last time, but that modern Euro-power bombast is still present when things get overly busy.

Musically, this new Bloodbound 2017 is really inoffensive, fun, cheesy, full of keyboards - courtesy of Fredrik Bergh from Seven / Rob Moratti, so expect AOR flurries as well - resulting in a diminution of overall heaviness.
And as said, lyrics are silly, but these songs are really, really catchy.
Very Recommended

01. A New Era Begins
02. Battle in the Sky
03. Tears of a Dragonheart
04. War of Dragons
05. Silver Wings
06. Stand and Fight
07. King of Swords
08. Fallen Heroes
09. Guardians at Heaven's Gate
10. Symphony Satana
11. Starfall
12. Dragons Are Forever

Patrik J Selleby – vocals
Tomas Olsson – guitars
Henrik Olsson – guitars
Anders Broman – bass
Fredrik Bergh – keyboards



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