From Sweden, Autumn Child release their 4th album of hard-rock/AOR. Fronted by Michael Erlandsson (ex Secret Service, as well as solo artist) Starflower features a number of well produced songs, including upbeat rockers and a few ballads, full of hooks, synths and melodic guitars, with big vocal arrangements on the choruses. Favorite tracks include “Gamechanger”, “Welcome To The Show”, and “1995”. If you’re in to the likes of Europe, Fair Warning, or Gary Hughes’ Ten, check this out. * For more info check out the bio/press info below.
Mikael Erlandsson needs no further introduction when it comes to melodic rock. He has released six successful solo albums and a lot of titles with groups like Phenomena, Salute among others. Between 2006-2018 Erlandsson fronted the Swedish super group Secret Service which he toured with live all over the world. Together with the fantastic guitar player Andy Malecek from the successful German hard rock band Fair Warning he founded the band LAST AUTUMNS DREAM in 2003 which also featured Ian Haugland, Mic Michaeli and John Leven of Europe fame at the time.
Last Autumn’s Dream went on releasing another 14 albums with different line ups including great musicians like Jamie Borger (Treat) and Marcel Jacob (Talisman). They toured Japan, England and Germany but decided to take a break in 2018. Shortly after, Erlandsson founded the group AUTUMN’S CHILD who have released three extremely successful albums so far (“Autumn’s Child” – 2019, “Angel’s Gate” – 2020, “Zenith” – 2022).
January 2023 sees Autumn’s Child returning with their fourth album “Starflower”, their second release via Pride & Joy Music. The group still features Michael Erlandsson on vocals, keyboards & guitars, Pontus Åkesson on lead guitar, Robban Bäck on drums, Claes Andreasson on piano and Magnus Rosen on bass.
“Starflower” was produced by Mikael Erlandsson & Claes Andreasson, mixed and mastered by Mikael Andersson at Soundport Studios, Sweden; drums recorded by Mikael Andersson at Soundport Studios.
Track list: 1. Gamechanger, 2. Aphrodite’s Eyes, 3. Welcome To The Show, 4. Opera, 5. Karenina, 6. 1995, 7. Dorian Gray, 8. I Can’t Get Enough, 9. The Final Call, 10., Love From Tokyo, 11. It’s Not Too Late
NESTOR – “KIDS IN A GHOST TOWN” RE-RELEASE DELUXE EDITION WITH BONUS TRACKS OUT SEP 30TH
The unanimously acclaimed debut album from Swedish nostalgic rockers NESTOR is getting a re-release. After signing with Napalm Records earlier this year the band and label decided to give new life to the record, with new music and new cover art. The deluxe edition, that will be released on digital, CD, vinyl and cassette includes the latest single “Signed In Blood” that was released this spring, a song based on a true friendship that can be traced back to the band’s humble beginnings in 1989, before the three-decade long hiatus that lasted until their reformation and glorious return last year. Two additional songs round out the enhanced track list. The somber and reflective “A Losing Game” contains so many key changes that it will bring tears of joy in the eyes of anyone that listens to it (even the guys in Ultravox)! And the cover version of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” sounds like the perfect summer fling lovechild between Whitney and Van Halen! A great album has become even greater! The deluxe version of Kids In A Ghost Town will be available on September 30th everywhere – Even in your Walkman!
Sweden’s LUGNET have recorded 3 albums; including their brand new album – Tales From The Great Beyond, which will be released on August 26. Over the past few years the band went through a few changes, and their new album will appeal to classic hard rock and metal fans, with heavy influences of Rainbow, Sabbath, and a few ’80s metal acts. (*Check out my review in a previous post) . In this new interview bandmembers – (Johan Fahlberg, Lennart “Z” Zethzon, Matti Norlin, Fredrik Jansson-Punkka, and Micke Linder) answer my questions pertaining to the band’s previous work, influences, and most importantly about their excellent new disc Tales From The Great Beyond.
*Check out more on the band at the links below….
How was reaction to the band’s previous 2 albums, and what did you want to do [perhaps] differently on the new album?
Lennart Zethzon: Overall the reaction has been very good for the first two albums. What we might have lacked a bit is in the production part. For the third album we decided to focus more on the recording and mixing. We also wanted to record with the whole band at the same time to get a live feeling. For the first two albums we only recorded Drums and Bass at the same time.
Where did the band’s name come from – what is the meaning behind it?
Jansson Punkka: There is a small area close to where we had our first rehearsal space called Lugnet. Our old guitarist Bonden suggested it and it stuck. It means calm in Swedish. Oh the irony…
Can you guys tell me about the band’s last few years since 2019’s Nightwalker album — what’s changed in the band? And was the new album conceived and written during the pandemic?
Jansson Punkka: When the pandemic hit we were lucky enough not to have that much booked so we spent a year writing and arranging songs instead. We also got a new guitar player called Micke Linder that joined us in 2019.
The title Tales From The Great Beyond might suggest some sort of concept of stories [storyline]. Why the album title? and is there any themes or concept to this new album?
Jansson Punkka: No not really, the title just came to me one day, thought it sounded nice and majestic and fitting for the music. Could be the title of an old novel.
There is definitely a ’70s hard rock feel / sound to this album. Was there any sorta deliberate approach to make it sound a bit old school?
Jansson Punkka: We have always sounded like this so it wasn’t like we planned it. In fact I would say that we might be leaning a bit towards the early 80’s on some of the songs. Lennart Zethzon: In the mixing and mastering we decided to not press it to hard and let it be more dynamic.
Can you give me a bit of story behind a few of the songs, like Pale Design, Black Sails, Another World, ..? [and any others]
Johan Fahlberg: I guess all of them are about the search for a better place, a better you. Trying to find the inner peace in your self. A life long struggle. I know, it’s a little bit dark but there’s sunshine too, hahaha…Pale Design is about a nightmare, but also a dream of a better world and a better life. Black Sails is a feeling of being not normal, being an outsider. A feeling of people looking at you with disgust. Only thing you want is to live your life and be who you are without judgment. Another World is a story of how hard you try to stand your ground and believing in the truth. The struggle to navigate through what’s real and what’s fake, and everyone that believes they have all the right answers.
There is lots of great heavy guitar playing on this album [riffs, solos, etc…] Can you guys talk a bit about guitar influences and sounds you wanted and how the guitar parts were worked out in the studio?
Mike: For me sound-wise for this band it’s very simple; just my early 70’s sounding Fender Strat’ into a 1971 Marshall Superlead on about 8; that combined with Matti’s a bit more saturated guitar tone I think creates a well balanced, quite heavy humbucker/single coil rhythm guitar sound on this album, with good clarity for the clean parts. Guitar players that I look up to and have listened to a lot over the years and probably been a bit influenced by: Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Morse, Billy Gibbons…
Matti: I wanted the guitar to sound like a mix of AC/DC and early Black Sabbath. Loud. We worked out the parts in our rehearsal studio.
Carl Westholm plays the keyboards on some of the album tracks [?] Was he just recording with the band as a ‘guest’ or might he be performing with the band live?
Lennart Zethzon: Carl was just recording as a guest but who knows, maybe he will guest with us live sometime as well.
Can someone explain the meaning of the final track “Tåsjö Kyrkmarsch”? It’s quite a piece, and a nice ending to the album. Where did the musical idea and idea to use it at the end come from?
Matti Norlin: Tåsjö is a village close to where I grew up, and the place where the church is located in that area. I came up with the tune around year 2000, and wrote it down for church organ in 2016 to be played at my father’s funeral in that church (where I also made the recording for our album).
What have been some of the bandmembers biggest and favorite shows in recent years? [certain festivals or opening slots for anyone in particular?] And what major shows have you got coming up that you guys are looking forward to?
It must be Sweden Rock Festival 2018. We played at the same time as Ozzy entered the main stage. One could think that it would give us a reduced audience, but we managed to get around 4000 people choosing Lugnet instead of Ozzy. We got a great review in Sweden Rock Magazine, 8/10 and Ozzy got a 7/10 :))
Can you tell me a bit about the album’s artwork – who created it and how much input and who’s went in to it?
Jansson Punkka: Vance Kelly did the artwork, he did our first album as well. Such an amazing artist. We sent him the songs and let him do his thing and it turned out great. It’s one of those covers that you could look at forever and still find new things. Make sure to buy the vinyl version if you want to see the whole artwork.
Hard Rock and metal seems to be alive and well in Sweden. Can you comment on the scene there and some of your favorite [or recommended] fellow Swedish acts ?
Jansson Punkka: There is a band called Stew that we had the pleasure of doing a couple of gigs this year. Really nice guys and a great band as well.
Can each of you guys give me a short list of a few favorite players, singers, etc… as well as a Top 10 of favorite albums from your youth?
Jansson Punkka: Favorite drummer of all times would be Bill Ward, if we’re talking about new drummers Eloy Casagrande is something out of this world. Favorite albums: The first 8 Sabbath-Albums, Born Again and “En ny tid är här with November.
Matti Norlin: In this style of music I list as follows: Guitarists: Angus Young, Ace Frehley Albums: Master of reality, Rising, Powerage, Who Do We think we are, Kiss Alive, Iron Maiden, Restless And Wild, Are You Experienced, Sweet FA and Melissa.
Johan Fahlberg Singers: Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Ian Gillan, Ray Gillen Albums: Destroyer, Van Halen, A Dangerous Meeting, Let There Be Rock, Defenders Of The Faith, Restless And Wild, Masters Of Reality, Heaven And Hell, Desolation Boulevard, Never Mind The Bollocks.
Lennart Zethzon: In this style of music: Bass players: Jack Bruce, Geezer Butler, Roger Glover and Neil Murray Albums: Destroyer, Kiss Alive II, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Mob Rules, Mahogany Rush IV, Made in Japan, Rising, Live In the Heart of the City, Strung Up, Foghat Live.
Mike: A few of my favorite rock oriented electric guitar players of all time would be Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Gilbert, Eric Clapton, Mark Knophler, Eddie Van Halen…there’s so many… Favorite albums: Machine Head, In Rock, Burn, Voulez Vous, Dark Side Of The Moon, Led Zeppelin IV, Down To Earth, Tyr, Paper Money, Eliminator
The debut album from Swedish band Nestor is getting issued on vinyl for fans. The band also signed with metal label Napalm Records. Kids In A Ghost Town comes in 2 different, very limited vinyl issues – 1 magenta colored vinyl (750 copies) and 1 picture disc (250) copies. Both can be ordered at the band’s merch site, although it seems the picture disc can only be obtained as part of a bundle. – https://nestor.merchants.se
Nestor is also being added to a number of big festival shows this year, including the Tons Of Rock Festival in June, in Norway, which features 40+ bands, notably Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Europe, The Darkness, Mastodon, Accept, Opeth…… Nestor play the 3rd day – which Deep Purple headlines. The band will also headline their own Nestor-Fest in August, in their hometown.
NESTOR SIGN WORLDWIDE CONTRACT WITH NAPALM RECORDS Deluxe version of debut album to be released in 2022
Napalm Records is proud to welcome Swedish melodic rockers NESTOR to the family! The band has signed a worldwide record deal with the leading Austrian rock and metal record label.
Originally founded in 1989 but only releasing their first album “Kids In A Ghost Town” in 2021 it is NESTOR’s mission to restore the glory of rock!
Their acclaimed first album sent their fans on a journey back in time to the 80’s.NESTOR on signing to Napalm Records:”We’ve been looking for the right partner for quite some time and we are thrilled about the signing with Napalm as they totally get the ambition and vision of Nestor. We are super exited to continue this fantastic journey with Napalm Records on board.”
Napalm Records CEO Thomas Caser adds:
“Welcome NESTOR – a band that is unbelievable fun and with whom we have a lot of plans for the next years!”
NESTOR are five childhood friends who formed a band over three decades ago in their hometown of Falköping, Sweden.
Now the rockstar dreams of their youth have been revitalised and once again the band embraces influences from the 80s with tongues-in-cheek and a lot of heart.
For fans of Maiden, Helloween, and Angra, among others. Italian band Vanderlust will release their debut album next month. The album features fast and metallic rockers, as well as using some acoustics on the stand out cuts “The Last Ganymedian” and “Zima Blue”. Fave rockers being “High Hopes” and “Ten Years Black”, great sounding heavy guitar, and the latter should appeal to fellow Maiden fans.
*Check out the press release below
Cosmic metallers VANDERLUST (ft. members of S91, Dreal) will be rocketing their self-titled debut album on April 15th, 2022 via Rockshots Records
Birthed to travel the cosmos, Italy’s Vanderlust is a power-heavy metal band with prog-thrash influences that tells tales of space travels, astronomy, space engineering, and sci-fi adventures.
“We tried to mix a prog-thrashy riffing in the roots of Megadeth, Vektor and Tool with epic vocal parts like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Angra, and Lione’s Rhapsody. We also put sci-fi elements in our songs, so you can hear also something from Voivod.” adds the band.
This debut recording is like a stellar system with 12 different planets. The star at the center of the system represents the heavy-power metal around all the songs revolving. Despite all the tracks being irradiated by the same light, they are all different from each other. Vanderlust has fast thrash, slow and doom, shiny and brilliant to grunge, and darker songs. Like planets, which appear like simple small bright spots, but in reality, are all big worlds, Vanderlust‘s songs are more complex than they sound at first listen. In fact, you can easily sing along to some of the choruses even if there are complex riffs in the background. Vanderlust is particularly proud of the participation of opera singer Letizia Cappellini who does vocals on select tracks and helps the band further expand the vocal register of their compositions. The band also adds the presence of synths and electronic elements to the compositions to set the sci-fi mood of the lyrics.
“The main goal was to start a metal band that could be an inspiration for young people, a band that could tell them stories from the future when mankind will have overcome its limits and the solar system will be an entire human colony. This idea came to mind to founding members Francesco and Santo when they began their search for other members that could fit. Drummer Giacomo Mezzetti joined the space odyssey right before the covid-19 outbreak. Vocalist Riccardo Morello joined the band during the first lockdown in Italy, so the first song was entirely composed online, using videocalls and file sharing.” adds the band.For their live aspect, Vanderlust is currently working hard to create a thrilling spectacle, giving all their energy to the fans and letting them join them on the space journey.
Track Listing: 1. Intro (0:58) 2. High Hopes (3:34) 3. Orphan Planet (3:41) 4. Forgotten Breed (5:13) 5. The Last Ganymedian (3:45) 6. Scavengers Of Kuiper Belt (4:02) 7. Mass Effect Destruction (2:04) 8. Requiem For An Ancient World (4:59) 9. 3 Suns (4:44) 10. Dyson’s Swarm (4:00) 11. Ringworld (3:26) 12. Ten Years Back (3:38) 13. Zima Blue (4:39) Album Length: 48:49
Swedish singer Rick Altzi (aka Rickard Thornberg) has recorded with a number of bands, such as At Vance, Masterplan, Gathering of Kings, and Herman Frank. This being Altzi’s first solo project, and it’s a very good set hard-rock tunes, a bit o’ metal, a bit of AOR, with Altzi’s vocals being not too far off from fellow Masterplan alumni (and Norwegian) Jorn Lande.
Lots of AOR-type keyboard intros, followed by heavier guitar driven rockers. The first 4-5 tracks are worth checking out alone, before things lighten up a bit. But really, no real dodgy cuts here, tho’ I think most albums should end at 10 tracks (there’s 14 here, but oh well) . Favorites include “Point Of No Return”, “Run To You”, and “Tossin’ and Turnin'”. Lots of great guest guitarists doing solos , notably Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia), and Andy LaRocque (King Diamond),
RICK ALTZI is an artist from Helsingborg, Sweden who started to play bass at the age of 14. He was a member in various tribute and original bands until 2004 and switched over to the microphone in 2005. His first album as vocalist saw the light of day in the year 2007 with the band AT VANCE. Since then, he has worked with a lot of outstanding musicians from bands such as Helloween, Accept, King Diamond, Pain Of Salvation, etc.. In 2020, Rick Altzi started to work on his first solo album under the moniker of ALTZI. Rick Altzi also is writing and recording with the bands Masterplan, Gathering Of Kings and Herman Frank.
In 2021, ALTZI has released a couple of successful singles and videos from the brand new album “All Eyes On Me” in advance. The full album, which will be available on CD and digitally from March 25th, 2022, now contains 10 more new songs.
Rick Altzi recorded all vocals in Outhouse Studios on the west coast of Sweden, Drums were recorded at Parental Studios in Cologne. The album is mixed by Victor Ohlsson in his studio located in Gothenburg and produced by Rick Altzi and Ulrick Lönnqvist. Thomas ”Plec” Johansson took care of the mastering at The Panic Room.
Track list: 1. Point Of No Return, 2. Crash and Fall, 3. Into The Fire, 4. Run to you, 5. Legacy, 6. You Don’t Believe In Love, 7. Strangers in the Real World, 8. Desire, 9. Hurting Kind, 10. Motherless Child, 11. Wind & the Rain, 12. Tossin’ and Turnin’, 13. Final Warning, 14. Where Dreams never Die
Line-up: Rick Altzi – Lead and backing vocals, Pete Alpenborg – Guitars, Keyboards Nalle Påhlsson – Bass guitar, Kevin Kott – Drums Ulrick Lönnqvist – Acoustic guitar, backing vocals Victor Ohlsson – Additional guitars, backing vocals Teresia Svensson – Backing vocals Kimberly Kott – Backing vocals Musicians on the song ”Into the Fire” Rick Altzi – Vocals, Magnus Berglund – Guitars, Morgan Jensen Guitars, Ken Sandin – Bass guitar, Kevin Kott – Drums
Guest solo guitarists: Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Cher), Matthias IA Eklund (Freak kitchen), Per Nilsson (Meshuggah), Olaf Lenk (AtVance), Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia), Morgan Jensen (Swedish Erotica), Victor Ohlsson (Gathering of Kings, Saffire), Magnus Karlsson (Freefall), Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), Magnus Berglund (Arctic Rain), Stefan Lindholm (Vindictiv), Eric Rauti (Dreamland)
Swedish hard-rock/metal band who released 7 albums from 1992-2011, before taking a break, but returned last year with Back On Track, a 15 song CD of hard rock, melodic rock, and metal. A well produced album, with attention to detail on song intros, solos, backing vocals, and well placed keyboards. Lots of hooks, melodies, and changes from song to song. I will say that I am not a fan of long albums, 10 tracks i enough for me, but hey, fans of the given band will appreciate more.
The title track leads off this album with a brief intro leading in to the heavy crunchy riff. A fine opener and first video released from this album. Favorite tracks rocks include rockers “Narrow Mind Land”, “Get Down To Biz”, “Doctor Lööv”, and “Rising”.
*check out the press release and links below …
It’s time, not just to celebrate the 30:th anniversary of the first M.ILL.ION album, but also to get back to that pure feeling of joy of the early days! Take note, people: This is not a reunion of tired middle aged men for nostalgic reasons. This is for real and a serious attempt at creating great new rock music, to kick some classic ass on stage again and to have lots of fun doing it all! Four original M.ILL.ION members reunited in the autumn of 2020: Hans Dalzon (Lead Vocals), CT Rohdell (Guitar) Marcus Berglund (Keyboards) and B.J Laneby (Bass Guitar). New, and very talented recruits Henrik Andersson (Lead Guitar) and Magnus Rohdell (Drums) completes this powerful six piece. Founder & bassist B.J Laneby comments: ”It’s so much fun, creativity & energy again! It’s really like the title track says: ” BACK ON TRACK – Time to make boys out of men!” The band has spent the spring of 2021 working on the reunion album BACK ON TRACK. This 15 track production includes three brand new songs and two re-recordings/re-arrangements of tracks from the No.1 album. Adding to this: Rare recordings have been found, remixes have been done + remasterings of songs from the first three albums; ”No.1”, ”We, Ourselves & Us” and ”Electric” as well. All very highly praised albums, all getting updated sounds. Indeed, quite a cool package of classic melodic hard rock! The new recordings on the Back On Track album were mixed by the world famous British producer Simon Hanhart (David Bowie, Bryan Adams, Saxon, Marillion, Asia, Yngwie Malmsteen, Waysted. a.o). Mastering was handled by another world class guy: Tim Debney of Fluid Mastering, UK. (Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, Judas Priest…) M.ILL.ION recently signed a deal with the well known German label AOR Heaven for the European release.
Track list: 1. Back On Track, 2. Rising, 3. Circle Of Trust, 4. 90-60-90, 5. Sign Of Victory, 6. Judgement Day, 7. Eye Of The Storm, 8. Narrow Mind Land, 9. Lovely Eyes, 10. Burn In Hell, 11. Doctor Lööv, 12. Mother Earth, 13. Get Down To Biz, 14. Tear Down The Walls, 15. Candyman . So, ladies & gentlemen, rockers & rollers: Get Ready! M.ILL.ION is BACK ON TRACK! http://www.millionsweden.com //http://www.facebook/Millionbackontrack
A Swedish band that appears to have been ‘resurrected’ after decades, with their 2nd album. The band, originally called ‘Burn’ formed in’82 and released their debut LP in 1984. That album doesn’t bare that much to this one, aside from the vocals of Anders Magnell and bass playing of Robert Hovarth. Fire Breaks The Dawn, from ’84 only saw release in the band’s homeland, as well as Japan, and featured 2 guitarists, and a more NWOBHM influence in their sound, where as Second Act adds keyboards, and takes on a more classic ’80s hard rock / aor sound. Absent is original guitarist Magnus Olson, who also wrote almost every song on the first record, other founding guitar player Peter Horvath is also gone, as Magnelli handles guitar duties here as well. Erik Martensson [W.E.T. , Eclipse] has a hand in this [mixing]. And it definitely sits in that same class of great Swedish hard-rock as Eclipse, and reminds me of latter day Europe [with the use of some excellent keyboards]. Though not very similar to their debut from ’84, Second Act is a solid high energy rock album. Great production, with attention to detail on things like song intros, different keyboard sounds [love the use of organ in a number of tracks, giving it a bit of ’80s Deep Purple feel on occasion], guitar solos, choruses [well crafted with harmonies, tho a few being a bit syrupy in that ’80s kinda way] ….. “Sail Away” kicks off this album, a cool little intro builds up before the the band comes in with this upbeat rocker [and video single]. Favorite tracks include “Magic”, “Born For Your Love” [just a solid rock tune, with quite a guitar break], “I’m Ready”, and closing cut “Fly Like An Eagle” [no, not the Steve Miller tune!]. Ten tunes, no ballads! Lyrically, nothing too serious here, much of this coming out of that ’80s hard rock, relationships and anthems approach, which is fine by me. A very good album, well written and put together, not keen on the album cover though 😉 .
Finally, PROUD is back after 36 years, stronger than ever, with ten new powerful songs! PROUD were founded in Landskrona, Sweden in 1982. They started as BURN and were one of many, countless Hard Rock bands that came in the mid-80s. The group changed their name over to PROUD and made an album for EMI which was produced by Caj Högberg (“Fire Breaks the Dawn”). This album is a rare and often elusive title making it an essential purchase when stumbling upon by fans of classic rock/metal of the 1980s. “Fire Breaks the Dawn” achieved success in Japan and parts of South America both.
In 2019, two of the original band members decided to make a new start! Songwriting and recording took place and soon a new record deal was signed with AOR Heaven. “Second Act” was recorded and engineered by Richard Larsson at Handsome Hard Studio 1 and 2, produced by PROUD, mixed and mastered by Erik Mårtensson at Mass Destruction Production and additionally mixed by Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room.
The band is: Anders Magnell (Lead vocals, guitars, backing vocals) Roberth Horvath (Bass, backing vocals) Mats Christiansson (Drums, backing vocals) Additional Musician: Richard Larsson (Keyboards)