ISSA – Another World

Ever since her breakthrough on the melodic rock scene in 2010 with ‘Sign of Angels’, Scandinavian vocalist Issa Oversveen has been one of Frontiers’ Records most bankable – and prolific – artists. Delivering the equivalent of a new album pretty much every two years, she’s kept herself in the spotlight, gained a lot of positive press from online sources, and become something of a fan favourite. Even 2023’s ‘Lights of Japan’ – her weakest album to date, due to a rather hard production sound – was home to a few great AOR tracks, and over the years, her voice has clearly held up very well.

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PRAYING MANTIS – Defiance

With a run of enjoyable albums that began with 2015’s ‘Legacy’, Praying Mantis seemed to go from strength to strength over the following decade. Granted, a few of the tracks on that album and its successors (2018’s ‘Gravity’ and 2022’s ‘Katharsis’) were a little heavier sounding, but Chris and Tino Troy’s gifts for a strong melody continued to set the band apart from so many of the second tier acts associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and when dropping into numbers boasting more of an AOR/melodic rock hook, the band sounded as good as ever.

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #44

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, we bring you some hazy sounding neo-psychedelia, an interesting take on a post punk/goth sound, a great singer songwriter, a melodic rock banger, a slice of Latin jazz, and more besides. As always, we hope you find something new to enjoy!

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CRUZH – The Jungle Revolution

Few bands have managed to take such a giant leap in terms of quality between their first and second records as Swedish rockers Cruzh. Their 2016 album showed promise in terms of its (admittedly unfashionable) AOR-centric songs, but on that record, they sounded like an entire product of the studio. The guitars were smooth and the vocals subjected to so much post-production, they barely sounded human. In short, the material had no real bite. Their second record ‘Tropical Thunder’ – issued by Frontiers Records five years later – was a great improvement. The songs, still indebted to the Danger Danger debut and equally 80s-tastic material by Alien, came with a big heart, but more importantly, seemed to breathe far more naturally. Despite still being overproduced, the 2021 Cruzh had seemingly learnt the value of a more rock derived vocal, and some of the material shared great guitar work, suggesting that this band actually had the potential to become a decent melodic rock act. Granted, they’d still have to go a fair way to beat fellow Swedes Lionville and Streetlight in terms of sheer quality, but ‘Tropical Thunder’ was certainly a huge step in the right direction…

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #39

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the past few weeks. As usual, there has been a bumper crop. This week, we bring you a singer songwriter who uses low key electronica to their advantage, some massive sounding post rock, the son of a Beatle, a throwback to the 90s (in the best possible way), and more besides. Dive in… It’s all good!

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