Reviews April/03

Radioactive / Yeah / MTM Music


Tommy Denanders Radioactive project - again a 100% quality release!! Tracklisting:Yeah; Demon; Don't give up; Lies Feed on Lies; I should have known better; Over you; Fire within; Not that innocent; Make it mine; Souls on Fire; 7 am; Until I change my heart.

Tommy Denander must be one of the most busy men in the music bizz of today - on this second release under the Radioactive moniker he has also lit a fire under several collegues like this bunch of top vocalist Fergie Frederiksen, Steve Overland, Geir Rönning, Kimmo Blom, Michael Erlandsson and Matti Alfonzetti - besides bassists Marcel Jacob and Tony Franklin - and drummer Pat Thern.
Denander was almost 10 years in the making of the debut - "Ceremony of Innocence" anno 2001 and it was a blast. But luckily he has speeded up things this time without making anything less in quality compared with the debut - "Yeah" is a FANTASTIC piece of melodic hard rock mixed with the easy listening westcoast inspired balladesque tracks too - groups like Toto has not made this kind of music since "Kingdom of Desire" and Denander makes it every time!
It is really very hard to pick some favorites here - from the very first track "Yeah" the album simply oozes with quality both in the composition, the production, the musicians as well as the overall production. "Yeah" is slighty more rockier than "Ceremony..." and a vocalist like Steve Overland from English smooth rockers FM - nowadays called SO! (I had almost forgot all about him) but he really shines on the exceptional "Lies Feed on Lies". And Fergie Federiksen is absolutely fabulous on a track like "Demon" - and the mighty powerful "7 am" allows Mr. Frederiksen to reach these well known high pitched notes as well.
The whole album already has a special place in my record collection and tracks like the Whitesnakes-esque "Don't give up" and ballade "Over you" are classics - but above all the real star is no one but Tommy Denander himself, and the whole album simply has his energy and charizma all over it!
I'm not sure that FANTASTIC is an appropriate word - but it very much cover my feeling towards this album! ..and remember - don't miss the hook, the melody, the Hammond organ and vocals in track # 9 "Make it mine"...- go home, Dweezil Zappa!

Demon Drive / ...four play / ESM085


Demon Drive - German Melodic rock par excellence!! Tracklisting:Roller Coaster ride; Devil Woman; Misdemeanor; Dance into the Music; Here comes that Feelin' again; She goes...; Waterfall; Northern Light; Room no. 17; Because of you; Remember where you heard it first.

If you are into good old German melodic hard rock with an updated sound Demon Drive is right up your alley. Back in the 90's vocalist Michael Voss and bass player Jochen Mayer had a band called Casanova and made two semi-classic albums "Casanova" and "One Night stand" and after a first edition of Demon Drive in the 1995 including Angel G Schleifer (Pretty Maids, Sinner, Bonfire and Sabu) and a re-union of Casanova they are now actually back to their roots.
The first release from this current line up "Rock and roll star" from 2001 was a bit of an experiment - and Michael Voss and Jochen Mayer was and is now joined by guitarist Thorsten Koehne and drummer Frank Kraus. On this "...four play" the band has managed to mix their tendencies for Nu Breed rock with their melodic roots with Voss's destinguisted voice all over it - he is SO typical German in the accent - and I like it!
There are a lot of sing-along-tunes on this and tracks like "Waterfall", "Misdemeanor", "Here comes that Feeling again" (a re-make of a Casanova tune), "Dance into the Music", "Remember where you heard it first" and especially "She goes..." will all stuck in my head for a long time - and on the CD there a a QuickTime video of the "Remember where you heard it first"track - great feature!
I can live with a rather dull version of Cliff Richard's "Devil Woman" because of the quality in the rest of the songs. Voss's voice can easily be recognized (a bit like Bonfire's Lessmann, actually) and the young Thorsten Koehne is a great guitar player - putting some very interesting leads in between.. - I enjoyed Demon Drive and Casanova in the past - and they are finally backed up by a good record company again and therefore a good production and great melodies to back it up can only leave a good impression!

Wuthering Heights / To travel for Evermore / LU20023-2


Wuthring Heights - Danish/Swedish/Italian progressive rock/metal! Tracklisting:Behind Tearstained Ice; The Nevershining Stones; Dancer in the Light; Lost Realms; Battle of the Seasons; A Sinners Confession (1.Dawn, 2.The Child in the Sun, 3.The Man in the Moon, 4.Dusk); See tomorrow shine; Through within to beyond; River Oblivion.

When you listen to the progressive Danish/Swedish/Italian band Wuthering Heights you'll have to sit down and catch your breath from time to time. Starting out in the 90's in the center of Copenhagen under names like Minas Tirith and Vergelmir - but now only founding member is multi-instrumentalist Erik Ravn - joining him these days are two more Danes Rune Brink on keyboards ad Morten Sřrensen on drums - two Swedes Kristian Andrén on vocals and Henrik Flyman on guitars and an Italian "special guest" Lorenzo Deho on bass.
Intromental Management in Copenhagen has decided to manage this very ambitious band - with their huge symphonic baroc speedy and moody though melodic hard rock (get the picture?) not unlike bands like Rhapsody, Kamelot and Angra. And with a huge production by Tommy Hansen in the Jailhouse Studios and joined by multi-instrumentalist Finn Zierler from Beyond Twilight on background vocals it can only be huge orchestral metal with symphonic and progressive elements - but then again, you must listen to this to get the full picture. But do it and remember to sit down from time to time with an ice cold beer! Enjoy the story telling element and the variety af tempo and musical skills.

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2003