BLACKTHORNE – Afterlife

Following his departure from Rainbow in 1980, Graham Bonnet carried on his musical journey. In 1981 he recorded his fourth solo album (‘Line Up’) and in 1982 replaced Gary Barden as the voice of the Michael Schenker Group. In 1983, Bonnet joined Alcatrazz, with whom he recorded three albums. Their 1985 disc ‘Disturbing The Peace’ (featuring Steve Vai) ranks alongside Rainbow’s ‘Down To Earth’ as a career high point for the prolific vocalist. After brief stints providing vocals for Forcefield (a band featuring his old Rainbow mate Cozy Powell), Pretty Maids and Chris Impelliteri, he landed a job in 1991 as the frontman for an all-star rock band named Blackthorne.

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LONERIDER – Attitude

LoneRider is a supergroup of sorts, as it brings together a few well known faces from the world of melodic rock. Another musical union between FM vocalist Steve Overland and Heartland guitarist Steve Morris, the band already has a great pedigree since both musicians released some fine music under the Shadowman name as well as with their main recording acts. For fans of both parties, expectations for a new project were already high, but LoneRider’s debut ‘Attitude’ exceeds everything Shadowman had released to date…and at least half of FM’s own work.

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NAT FREEDBERG – Better Late Than Never

A cult hero from Boston, Nat Freedberg has recorded with The Titanics, The Clamdiggers, The Flies…and likely lots of other acts labelled with the definitive article. Always a champion of a natural sound, his best works have a very old spirit and the best bits of 2019’s ‘Better Late Than Never’ could stand alongside Strange Majik in terms of exuding an all-round retro cool…at least on musical terms.

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DEAD SOUL ALLIANCE – Slaves To The Apocalype

With ‘Slaves To The Apocalypse’, Dead Soul Alliance pledge a firm allegiance with very old school death metal. Since its six songs have little interest in blending pure pneumatics and low end growls with anything too far away from a more palatable Slayer-ish riff or two, even in metal terms, you could even say they’ve become slaves to their own chosen genre. For those who enjoy a bit of straight death, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since these six songs are so tautly arranged, it’s hard to find any real fault with DSA’s talents for the extreme.

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ROXY BLUE – Roxy Blue

With overtones of Warrant, Trixter and other vaguely sleazy bands, Roxy Blue’s 1992 debut album ‘Want Some’ became a firm favourite among fans of the glammier end of the melodic rock scale. With a really catchy set of songs and solid musicianship, it was the kind of album that deserved better than just cult status. Over the passing decades, it’s never seemed to get the same rose tinted love as, say, Warrant’s ‘Dog Eat Dog’, It’s Alive’s ‘Earthquake Visions’ or Kingofthehill, but if approached in the right mood, it’s every bit as good as other similar stuff from the period. Disappearing not long after, Roxy Blue seemed destined to join Outlaw Blood, Warp Drive and countless others in the “one album band” stakes. Despite frontman Todd Poole continuing to write songs, as the next few years came and went, they seemed about as likely to record a second album as Ted Nugent becoming a progressive minded vegan.

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