THE BABYS – The Babys

Best remembered for big US hits ‘Isn’t It Time’ and ‘Every Time I Think of You’, British rock band The Babys have remained a cult favourite among AOR fans. The launching point of John Waite’s career, the band released a string of enjoyable albums between 1976-81 with their combination of fine 70s pop hooks and strong guitar driven melodies.

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GIRL – Sheer Greed

Often associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, glam rock band Girl formed in London in 1979. Gaining a following on the live circuit, they quickly signed to Don Arden’s Jet Records – home to Electric Light Orchestra and Magnum – and released their debut album ‘Sheer Greed’ the following year. Decades on, if ‘Sheer Greed’ is mentioned at all, it’s by association. The band’s frontman, Philip Lewis, later joined L.A. Guns and guitarist Phil Collen replaced Pete Willis in Def Leppard, first appearing on the band’s third album – 1983’s multi-million selling ‘Pyromania’. Girl were always a reasonably good band in their own right, of course, and although by no means perfect, ‘Sheer Greed’ has enough good moments to remind listeners why they perhaps deserve a little more credit of their own.

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PROTECTED LEFT – Fossil EP

Following 2018’s ‘Posterity’s Sake’, Protected Left’s 2019 EP ‘Fossil’ combines fierce riffs with personal commentary to create a five tracker that should appeal to fans of Propagandi and of the noisiest end of Strike Anywhere catalogue. In terms of thrash oriented punk, it feels a little generic but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when played as well as it is here.

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THE WORLD WITHOUT US – Incarnate

Although only together for around eighteen months at the close of 2019, Pennsylvania’s The World Without Us have gigged intensively and already shared a stage with the mighty Soulfly. It takes some bands years to gain that kind of attention, but one listen to their ‘Incarnate’ EP is pretty much all you’ll need to be convinced that these guys are one hell of a metal band.

Taking huge swathes of metalcore, a pinch of prog-metal and a couple of other influences, this EP is a giant melting pot of riffs. Riffs big enough to take on the very best; something helped no end by a heavy production style that is streets ahead of so many bands’ first DIY releases.

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TYKETTO – Strength In Numbers Live

In the nineties, melodic rock was going through an interesting phase. People with narrow musical tastes tell you the “scene had been killed by grunge” (yes, that old chestnut – how boring AOR fans can be), but the fact is, with AOR and melodic rock being driven to independent labels, between 1993 and 1999 the scene actually produced some of its best music since 1989. Labels like Now & Then released unmissable discs by Crown of Thorns, Cannata, Ten and Shotgun Symphony; Long Island gave the world the second – and best – Heartland album, and further out on the fringes, labels like Z Records, Megarock and Empire some great albums too, including releases by Mark Spiro, Snakes In Paradise and Jekyll & Hyde. Regardless of what some people might claim, the scene was far from dead…it had just migrated.

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