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.
Following the dissolution of their short-lived band Place Called Rage in 1995, the founding members briefly went their separate ways. Guitarist Al Pitrelli joined power metal band Savatage and drummer Chuck Bonfante stepped away from the spotlight. Reuniting in 1997, the pair provided the driving force behind an almost equally short-lived project entitled Flesh & Blood.
Already home to the Phenomena project (a collective whose 2010 release may be a career high point for that particular collective) and the much lesser-known and lesser-talented Sebastien, British melodic rock label Escape Music is no stranger to big “all-star” gatherings. The beginning of 2013 saw the label release ‘Dreamworld’ by Rage of Angels, another all-chums-together offering, this time masterminded by ex-Ten keyboard player Ged Rylands.