Blackwater James – Blackwater James

Sometimes the unlikeliest places to find good music is where you normally don’t look. Case and point is the southern outfit Blackwater James hailing from country town USA Nashville, Tennessee. We we’re delighted to obtain a promo copy of their self title debut and surprise as to what we found. The band formed in August of 2008 when front man Christopher James inspired vision took over and those knew what they wanted to create, and that was a mix of southern blues with some old school classic rock with some vintage 80’s thrown in for good measure.

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Free Spirit – Pale Sister of Light

The country of Finland seem to have made the jump into the melodic rock pit hole quite strongly in the last few years. Some examples of this are of course Brother Firetribe, Firenote and now Free Spirit with their unique guitar arrangements and catchy hooks and riffs. As we try to catch up on some key releases over the past few years, we can’t forget the impact that “Pale Sister of Light” had for this native Finnish band as it helped them gain an army of loyal fans worldwide and consequently now the band is focusing on a new record to follow the success of Pale Sister. But for now we re cap the gems inside this piece of work.

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Picture – Old Dogs New Tricks

Picture this!!! Holland and the first Dutch metal band, is the image that first comes to mind. If youre not familiar with Picture, they we’re the very first Dutch hard rock band with a “record deal”. They went on to record 7 albums and toured extensively through Europe with the likes of AC/DC, Saxon, Ted Nugent to name a few. They return 30 years later with “Old Dogs New Tricks” and trying to show a new sound but not forgetting their trademark sound.

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The Fallen Within – Intoxicated

Greece seems to be a bit of a hotbed for modern melodic death core bands lately, and the latest group to join the flock is six-piece act THE FALLEN WITHIN. Like most of their peers, the sound the band are going for is a fusion of the new day American metalcore sound and the ever booming Scandinavian metal sound. The band have actually been together since 2003, but constant line-up changes and other obligations have prevented them from releasing their debut up until now.

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Lena’s Baedream – Memo Love Chronicles

Lenas Baedream’s roots started in Parma , Italy in 2003 an idea originating from Nicola Briganti (lead guitar and backing vocals). The nature of it’s sound is influenced from modern 90’s modern hard rock. In 2008 the bands EP debut “Self- attack and all the following facts” was realized and then topped by the winning of Rock Targato Italia 20th edition, a popular music contest in their native country, the band later engaged in a long tour season all over Italy. The band’s full length album came to fruition soon after the end of the tour, and later they joined forces with Zeta Factory for their release.

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Mattsson -Tango

One of the heavyweights of Melodic Progressive Metal is the group Mattsson formed by guitar/composer Lars Eric Mattsson. Now going on they’re 5th studio album and this time they submit a collaboration with vocalist Adrienn Antal who first paired up in 2008’s “Dreamchild”. Tango clocks in close to 67 minutes of epic progressive metal and tempo shifts instrumentation at it’s best. I was a little cautious with this release, afraid that style might take over substance, but the recods ends up being more easier to digest then originally expected.

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Excalion – High Time

The debut album from Finnish power metallers EXCALION appeared out of nowhere back in 2005 and received a pretty warm welcome from power metal fans and critics alike. As most of the reviews stated at the time, it was a very good album, but there was definitely room for improvement. The reply came in 2007 with the release of WATERLINES, that improved in nearly every aspect and had the die-hard power metal fans singing from the rooftops. Now, in the early part of 2010 we have the band’s third release HIGH TIMES.

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Hard – Time is Waiting for No One

Swedish and Hungarian rockers HARD formed in Hungary in 2004 and released two albums that where critically acclaimed in their home country, but failed to do anything worldwide because of the lyrics being sung in their native tongue.
The guys in the band decided that they wanted to try and gain some recognition away from their home country, so in 2008 they released their debut English language album “TRAVELER”. The album went down quite well within melodic rock and AOR circles and did see the band’s success flourish…

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Sedona – Golden Valley

When you think of WestCoast AOR the first country you think of is not France is it? As it turns out it has enjoyed great popularity there, which is the native country of Sedona. Main musical influences here are Toto, the Little River Band, Dakota,Boulevard and Nielsen / Pearson to name a few. The members of the band are all accomplished instrumentalists who know how to induce that smooth soft laid back west coast sound that this genre has always been so renowned for.

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Newman – The Art of Balance

Steve Newman has been a force in the aor and melodic world for a while, and many fans take a liking to not only his unique vocals but his strong songwriting skills. Steve’s storied music career can be traced back to the early 80’s in England and some of the early material then was influenced by popular local bands Trobruk and Explorer. As with many musicians there is always a carousel of band lineups, different musical directions and struggles to find your “niche”, but one constant strong point that Steve Newman has developed through the years is the amount of material written and recorded..

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Auras – New Generation

The sound they have created is pure early eighties AOR music that brings back vivid memories of bands like JOURNEY, SURVIVOR, FOREIGNER and TOTO just to name a few. I would personally compare the band closer to JOURNEY though, mainly because the album is biased more toward the ballad aspect of things and also the vocalist GIU OLIVER has an uncanny knack of sounding very similar to the legend that is STEVE PERRY when he wants to.

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