Delain-Moonbathers ©2016 Napalm Records
Delain has been showing amazing growth as band with each release. 'Moonbathers' without a doubt continues this trend. The music is pretty much what you would expect from the band and the songs really carry themselves well. There are a few tracks here carried over from the 'Lunar Prelude' ep and there are some bonus live tracks of some of the new songs added into the deluxe edition of the album. I feel at this time that Delain are neck and neck with other symphonic female fronted metal bands of the genre. Very good album with a lot to sink your teeth into. Don't miss this one!
First Signal-One Step Over the Line ©2016 Frontiers Records
This record is a melodic hard rock masterpiece! Harry Hess of Harem Scarem along with Daniel Flores, and Michael Palace have really put together one of the best melodic albums of the year which really should come as no surprise as all of these guys are at the top of their game. In some ways this album reminded me of a mix of Harem Scarem and Unruly Child. Their is a great mix of melodic tunes and more punchy rockers which adds to the enjoyment of the listen. The album has been out for a few months, but shouldn't be missed, especially in the melodic hard rock community. Very easy recommend here!
Crystal Ball-Déjà-Voodoo ©2016 Massacre Records
It's so hard to believe that we first checked out Crystal Ball back in 2000 and here they are releasing their ninth album already. It has been a lot of fun watching this band evolve into what they are today. 'Déjà-Voodoo' further solidifies their position in the metal community as a contender. Some of the songs on this record have the same qualities in them as classic Accept and the reason I became a huge fan of that band. Tracks that make my case to that point include 'Déjà-Voodoo', 'To Freedom and Progress' and 'Dr. Hell No'. As usual, there is a lot to like here. Headbanging metal at it's best!
Cruzh-Cruzh ©2016 Frontiers Records
Cruzh features former TrashQueen members Dennis Butabi Borg, Anton Joensson, and studio member Tony Andersson who did record with the band but the music wasn't released. This is a great melodic rock record. Looking back at the previous band, there was a bit of a change in direction and the results are amazing. This release should put Cruzh firmly on the map. I had really never heard of Cruzh or TrashQueen and came away from this album as a new fan of Cruzh. Songs are well crafted and with each subsequent listen I came away loving the album even more. Solid melodic rock!
Michael Sweet-One Sided War ©2016 Rat Pak Records
Michael Sweet is a really talented guy that delivers in spades. Been catching up with the stuff he is involved with for some time now and have never really seen a dip in quality. 'One Sided War' is a fairly heavy record that has some amazing shredding courtesy of Joel Hoekstra and Ethan Brosh and of course Michael himself. There is the element of substance that always is evident in a Michael Sweet record. The album has a very even feel to it in terms of quality and consistency. As far as Sweet's solo work, this to me is probably his very best work. He always kicks it up a notch each time and did once again!