SUNSTORM – Brothers In Arms

When the legendary vocalist Joe Lynn Turner stepped away from Sunstorm in 2020, it could have been the end of the line for the much loved melodic rock band. After all, his departure not only left them without their distinctive voice, it also led to a band with no original members. In addition, Joe was the reason why most people loved Sunstorm in the first place. For these reasons, for Sunstorm to continue seemed like a strange decision. However, they battled on, thinking that Sunstorm name would be enough alone to shift a few units.

After securing the talented but busy Ronnie Romero in 2021, the band secured not only another top drawer singer – capable of tackling a broad range of styles – but also someone who’d technically filled Joe’s shoes when Ritchie Blackmore decided to revive the Rainbow moniker. On paper, Ron was perfect for the Sunstorm job. Since they were attempting to replace the irreplaceable, the reality could have been different, but between some well written songs and Romero in great form, the new-look Sunstorm’s ‘Afterlife’ was a solid affair, regardless of whatever band name happened to be on the box. It was certainly good enough to suggest that Sunstorm had a future without Turner.

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SLAVES OF DISSONANCE – Toxoplasmosis EP

Based in Queensland, Slaves of Dissonance are a great addition to the Aussie metal scene. On their debut EP ‘Toxoplasmosis’, the riffs come with the heaviness of Lamb of God, the pneumatics of late period Death and Periphery, and even a smidgeon of TesseracT’s artiness, to create something that’s interesting and occasionally challenging, but somehow always familiar. On that score, its a release that pushes all of the right buttons.

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RESTLESS SPIRITS – Second To None

Guitarist Tony Hernando will be familiar to some melodic rock fans through his associations with powerhouse vocalist Ronnie Romero, and their work together as members of Spanish metal band Lords of Black. Although that band’s huge riffs helped to put Hernando in the spotlight across Europe, its with his side project, Restless Spirits, the musician really shines. When working under that moniker, Hernando’s work takes a far more tuneful approach as he tackles a broad variety of melodic rock styles. In addition, the band’s role call of guest vocalists on their debut from 2019 – including Hardline men Deen Castronovo and Johnny Gioeli, and the brilliant Dino Jelusic – helped to bring Tony’s work to an even broader audience.

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SCUM – For Health And Well-Being EP

It’s brave move to open a release with a spoken word passage, especially for a band who are barely out of the starting blocks in terms of their career, but Scum come in with such confidence on their second EP – and a semi-pretentiousness – that it makes the listener wonder what else they’ve got up their collective sleeve. “The primal scream of the modern team”, sneers a very natural sounding voice, before being particularly scathing of modern TV and its watchers who “do not see what they need”. It all sounds very jaded for a band whom, at the time of recording, appear to have a combined age that’s less than a third of Jello Biafra’s own.

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