Most of this debut from German rockers Linda and The Punch mixes traditional AOR guitars with a radio friendly pop edge, resulting in something that resembles Pat Benetar reshaped for a post-80s audience…only hugely inferior. However, even though the press materials appear desperate for listeners to think this could stand alongside works by P!nk, it often comes across as a much less fortunate entity – usually a second rate rehash of works by Issa, an AOR singer who (despite best intentions) has no hope of ever being as good as Benatar either. It may collect tunes from jobbing songwriters who’ve written for pop artists, but the very fact that the album is produced by German hard-rocker Michael Voss (of Demon Drive fame) and leans on Escape Music stalwart Tommy Denander elsewhere, unfortunately ‘Obsession’ just isn’t as far removed from the label’s usual stock as they’d so desperately like you to think.
In 2012, session drummer JK Impera’s eponymously named band released ‘Legacy of Life’, a solid melodic rock offering also showcasing the talents of much-loved guitarist Tommy Denander and European vocalist Matti Alfonzetti (best known to most as the frontman of Myke Gray’s Jagged Edge in the early 90s). With a first class guitarist and a great singer (who rarely gets his due for having a voice that’s held up extremely well over the years), the project had the right ingredients to please many classic rock fans. While the songs were of a tried and tested formula, most of the material was strong – and Alfonzetti’s voice just gave the band an extra edge, often missed from so many other “second-tier” melodic rock acts.
Tony ‘The Cat’ Martin rarely gets any credit for his time in Black Sabbath between 1987-90/1993-97. That’s a pity, since he always did his absolute best with the given material, while tackling a job that – in rock terms – was the epitome of “dead man’s shoes”. Maybe those six studio records would now be better respected if they’d been issued under a different band name? We’ll never really know for sure. In many ways, this fourth release from Italian guitar maestro Aldo Giuntini – the third to feature Martin – is similar to those largely unloved Sabbath records in that many of the tunes come at a stomping mid-pace with a gritty guitar sound – perfect in many ways for Martin’s vocal range. While it’s a record with no real relevance at the time of its release [and certainly a far cry from the “breath of fresh air” promised in the press materials – what were they thinking?], it certainly would be unfair to suggest that ‘IV’ doesn’t have a good stab at providing some old school entertainment.
In the noughties, Norwegian hard rock band Winter Parade released two albums for two different independent hard rock labels: while ‘Midnight Paradise’ [MTM Records, 2002] and ‘Two’ [Perris Records, 2008] were a huge commercial success, both found a cult audience. Following the band’s demise, bassist PB Riise teamed up with guitarist Tore Meli and Coldspell drummer Perra Johnson to form the core of Snowfall, a band whom – given their heritage and past links – may, on the surface, be dismissed as just another Scandinavian hard rock band.
Under the creative guidance of bassist Alec Mendonca and boasting the vocal prowess of ex-Unruly Child vocalist Philip Bardowell, N.O.W.’s 2010 debut album ‘Force of Nature’ had the makings of an cult AOR classic. It had the well arranged tunes; it had some strong choruses. On the surface, the album had the potential to be very good, but was sadly marred a little due to demo quality recordings (parts of the album were even mastered at different volumes).