Reviews july/02

Vagh / Sands of Time / SCSP -001


Vagh - debut from Sweden! Tracklisting:Tricky; Book of Shadows; Sands of Time; Blue Collar proud; Hypnotized; Alison; Cold Blooded Lover; Sleepwalking; Born Yesterday; In the Heat of the Night.

I was born and raised in Denmark - therefore I have always had a soft spot for THAT significant Scandinavian sound of melodic hard rock coming from such great classic bands like Treat, Fate, Skagarack and Europe. But lately there has been a New Wave of Scandinavian Melodic Rock and this indie band Vagh is among the best.
According to their press-material Vagh is here "... to make you remember the 80's. Our sign is catchy hooks, roaring drums, screaming guitars and slick keyboards, all in a mix with a lot of choruses to sing along with." I must admit that for an independent release Vagh debut "Sands of Time" is an absolute quality album - alongside the brilliant debut from fellow Swedes Broke[N]Blue.
The band has definitely its musical roots in the mid 80's - and the project is fronted by guitarplayer Robin Vagh and he has called in Jonas Blum on lead vocals from Pole Position, Reptilians and progressive band Majestic, Tom Rask from Art In Motion on keyboards, Anders Rosell on drums and bassplayer Jan-Åke Jönsson. And they all deliver a very tight job - centered by Robin Vagh's excellent songwriting and good production.
Some of the memorable tracks are "Book of Shadows" - but in special track #4 "Blue Collar Proud" with its catchy chorus and EXCELLENT keyboard work, it has a progressive touch to it, too! On the more radio friendly side "Alison" is definitely a top 10 hit to me - it reminds me of Heart anno "Bad Animals" because of the female vocals sung by Noomi Strågefors - great!
Vagh is an absolute ambitious project with good melodies, catchy vocals and a nice production - even the art work is handled by the much hailed Matthias Norén from So please check this project out!

Two Fires / Ignition / Frontiers Records 108


Two Fires - the second album! Tracklisting:Ignition; Somewhere far away; More than a Mystery; You're bringing me down; I'm falling; I see red; This Night; The Man I want to be; I will remember you; What the whole world needs to know; Rhythm of the World (hidden track).

I must say that this record takes of where their debut ended a couple of years back - no less, no more. Two Fires is still the brainchild of two of the most respected gentlemen in the AOR business singer/writer Kevin Chalfant and guitarist Josh Ramos this time around they are joined by Atma Anur and Kenny Aaronoff on drums, Jeff Jacobs and Chuck Giacinto on piano/organ, Alby Odum and Michael Gardner on additional guitars - and not to forget Mr. AOR himself Jim Peterik has co-written most of the songs. So in a slick production it is definitely not a bad record - but there is nothing new under the sun.
On a bad day I can´t hear the different between this and their debut or Storms second CD for that matter! - there are some memorable tracks, though! And on every tack there is the same positive feeling and there are soft ballads mixed with sing-along go happy tracks. The ideal mix for a car drive. Some of my favorites are the slick and radio friendly "More than a Mystery" and the more powerful "You're bringing me down" - but my air guitar couldn´t be quiet on a track like "I see red" - great intro and good chorus.
Even though this isn´t a classic i my humble opinion - it's still very recommendable to everone who likes the works of Storm, Journey, Bryan Adams or Survivor - nice AOR with good melodies, good musicianship and a nice production.

Vicious Mary / Vicious Mary / Frontiers Record 117


Vicious Mary - rooted in bands like Harem Scarem, Dokken and Bon Jovi! Tracklisting:Love or Hate; When he cries; Outside; Million Words; Crying for you; The Call; E.L.I.S.A; Kaysage; I'll be there for you; You run me wild; Indian Giver.

Vicious Mary is a band formed by members from Eldritch Terence Holler on vocals and Sean Henderson on keyboard. These two guys decided to form a project band with the precise task to hail their musical roots like Harem scarem, Dokken, Whitesnake, Fair Warning and Bon Jovi.
So after the succesful recordings of the fourth Eldritch album ("Reverse") they joined forces with Pete Daniels (aka Matt Ruaro of Maya) and BB Nick (aka Nick Savio from White Skull) both on guitars, and additional musicians Louis Stefanini on bass, Camy Colleluori on drums. I must say that there a lot of good tracks on this debut - lets hope the project will continue as a real band - or kind of....
My mind played tricks with me listening to tracks like the powerful but catchy "Outside" - i felt like being 20 years old again in the mid 80's. But also the ballade-esque "Million Words" is an absolute hammer - the excellent powerful twin guitar work is very rare - this time around the vocals reminds me of Stephen Pearcy of Ratt. The track that did it for me was track # 5 "Crying for you" - with its semi-acistic intro and catchy chorus - great!
It seems that the 80's is the musical trend at the moment - many bands deliberately is looking for this sound and is proud of this expressive source. Vicious Mary is worth buying because of its authentic musical roots and they are able to deliver the works without being pathetic!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2002