In 2010, Harem Scarem vocalist Harry Hess teamed up with Frontiers Records hired hand Daniel Flores to form First Signal, a band clearly more devoted to traditional AOR sounds than Harem Scarem had often been since their debut release in 1991. The results, while never outright classic, were very strong. With Hess returning to Harem Scarem duties almost instantly, First Signal seemed as if it would be a one-shot deal. But then, in the late spring of 2016, they returned.
Formed in 2007 around the talents of drummer/producer Daniel Flores and vocalist Angelica Rylin, The Murder of My Sweet is a symphonic metal band based in Sweden. Their third album, 2015’s ‘Beth Out of Hell’ is a ridiculously grand affair straddling a fairly typical symphonic metal sound with huge elements pulled from musical theatre. Those who enjoy Within Temptation, Nightwish et al might glean some listening enjoyment, but to say its bombast is both one-paced and predictable would be an understatement.
Since this debut record from Angelica Rylin pays homage to her childhood heroes Robin Beck and Ann Wilson, it’ll come as no surprise that the album, therefore, ploughs a well-worn furrow of melodic rock. With Frontiers Records regular Daniel Flores handling production duties/drums/song-writing and other regulars Alessandro Del Vecchio and Robert Sall also having a hand in proceedings, the whole thing feels like an all-chums-together affair. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but obviously the combination of a familiar team and a rigid musical blueprint makes ‘Thrive’ feel wholly predictable. So, given that this album breaks absolutely no new musical ground whatsoever, why should you check out Angelica, when there is so much other rock music out there vying for your attention?
Bringing together the talents of Robbie LeBlanc (Blanc Faces), Daniel Palmquist (Xorigin) and noted session drummer/engineer Daniel Flores, Find Me is a project with strong foundations. With a selection of songs written by Frontiers Records in-house regulars Allesandro Del Vecchio and Tom Wilson and contributions from Issa and Erik Mårtensson, the whole package is designed to be the AOR fans dream. Usually when such big ambitions are chased such projects falter, but almost everything about Find Me works excellently.
Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson will be familiar to some rock fans as a collaborator on Jorn Lande and Russell Allen’s trilogy of albums, having lent some meaty musical chops to the works of those powerhouse vocalists. ‘Free Fall’ – Karlsson’s solo debut – follows in the melodic power metal tradition, with a roll call of impressive vocal talents helping to breathe life into his material, as well as some killer lead guitar work throughout.