Reviews May/04

Wicked Sensation / Exceptional / MTM 0681-98

4/5


Wicked Sensation - Fernando Garcia taking over where Soeterboek left! Tracklisting:Intro; Shining Light; Back to my Bed; We arise; Your beat inside my Heart; The one you love ain't me; Exceptional; Kiss it away; Dying with the Wind; Time will pass me by; My own Misery; Rain on me.

Wicked Sensation made a triumphant entrance on the melodic rock scene in 2001/2002 with their album "Reflected". At that time Dutchman Robert Soeterboek was the vocalist and made the bands debut very significant with his Coverdale-esque voice assisted by the twin guitars by Michael Klein and Sang Vong supported by Martin Mannhardt on the bass, Bernd Spitzner on keyboards and Björn Greff on drums. This line up changed in September 2003 when Soeterboek decided that he wanted out - and the rest of Wicked Sensation recruited experienced vocalist Fernando Garcia known from his work with German hard rockers Victory.
This change on a vital spot has made the bands sound more significant towards the more "traditional" mid-european metal sound similar to Pink Cream 69 and/or others, with a lot of potent fast tracks supplied with grand ballads. On "Exceptional" the band even worked with former PC 69 vocalist Andi Deris (now with Helloween) - that shows especially on the two first tracks "Shining Light" and "Back to my Bed" with some fast and powerful riffs and groove. But also track #3 "We arise" is a party anthem with great big guitar work and a Hammond organ. My favorite though is the more mellow (almost balladesque) "Dying with the Wind" with a very nice guitar solo and a hummable chorus!
All in all you might say that Wicked Sensation has made a fair and square great record to follow up on the most praised debut - I will not go into a discussion whether "Exceptional" or "Reflected" is the better or whether Soeterboek or Garcia fits the band most. The two vocalists are not very similar in their way of expressing themselves musically, therefore the two records are different, and I think the new "Exceptional" is a great record with a lot of great riffs, blitzing solo work, groovy drumming, excellent piano/keyboard/Hammond and a very steady bassist - and Garcia sounds better than ever (I only remember "Culture killed the Native").


Anubis Gate / Purification / LM 183

3/5


Anubis Gate - Danish Power Metal!! Tracklisting:Hall of two Truths; Downward Spiral; Purification; Hypernosis; In the Comfort of Darkness; Before Anubis; I, Demon; The Shadow; Discrowned; Kingdom of Duat.

Anubis Gate is a band formed in Aalborg, Denmark by former Invocator bassist Jesper M. Jensen and former Geronimo drummer Morten Sörensen. They recruited former Prophet of Doom/Northern Empire vocalist Torben Askholm.
This debut album "Purification" was recorded i Jacob Hansen's (also known from Invocator) studios and on the record they have joined forces with Kim Olsen on guitars and keyboards and Henrik Fevre on harmony vocals. The inspiration for this record is a bit away from the thrash genre from their common past, and hails bands like Queensr’che, Savatage and Iron Maiden.
Lyrically, "Purification" is a loosely based concept album about fighting inner demons, and cleansing on a psychological level. This goes very well together with the bands name, as Anubis was the God in ancient Egyptian mythology with the body of a jackal whose task it is to lead the misguided souls through the underworld and into the kingdom of Osiris. The key track is the 8½ minutes long track "Discrowned" with some powerful brutal guitars and some virtuos keyboards. But also "I, Demon" fights Crimson Glory in the ring.
Anubis Gate is now hooked up with the Danish Intromental Management and signed by the German/Spanish label Locomotive Music for a release in Europe and Northern America! Let's hope they will succeed.


State Of Mind / Memory Lane / MTM Classix 0681-97

4/5


State Of Mind - Finally out in Europe,too! Tracklisting:My kind of Life; Up on the Top; Carry on; Dream those Dreams; Empty House; Extreme World; Good old Times; Liar; Mother; Traveling Man; Hang tough; Gypsy Rave.

State Of Mind originally released this in Japan back in 1994 with the title "Mother" - on this MTM Classix re-release there are two previously unreleased tracks added therefore the new title "Memory Lane".
The band started back in 1987 with Jörgen Svensson on guitars, Johan Larsson on bass, Patrik Appelgren (replaced by Patrik Lundeberg) on keyboards and Roger KIndstrand on drums - but it was when hot shot vocalist Conny Lind returned from the Stated after working with Alex Masi things started getting fun in the State of Mind camp. Soon after their 5-track promotional demo entitled "Dream those Dreams" they were contacted by Jeff Paris and became his backing band for a short European tour in 1993.
In 1994 they were contacted by Japanese label Victor Records who released "Mother" in 1994 and the albumwas even suggested as "a contender for debut of the year". In the press material it says, that the musical style is very similar to bands like Lynch Mob and/or Slaughter - and well besides the similarity in the hight pitched vocals i think hte musical style is more a fresh mixture of Van Halen and Little Ceasar ?! Especially in tracks like "Carry on" and "Dream those Dreams" i think we are back to Van Halens "OU812". I know I might be very alone her - I have read other reviews on the Internet - but I think "Memory Lane" is a good record, and i'm glad that they re-released this one! Because of the good melodies, great production, Svensson's guitar work and overall expression! Otherwise I had missed the big hookladen opener "My kind of Life" and the very melodic (and almost Van Halen-esque) "Up on the Top" but also the before mentioned ballad "Dream those Dreams" is all worth it!


© Steen Peitersen 1999-2004