Reviews June/04

Human Temple / Insomnia / MTM 0681-104


Finnish melodic rock at their best! Tracklisting:I'm sorry; Goin' all the Way; Dream Child; Out of Love; Desert Rain; Animal; Walk between the Shadows; Judas my Brother; On a Night like this; Till' the Day I die; Forever.

Human Temple was partly formed way back in 1986 by "famous" Finnish vocalist Janne Hurme and drummer Petri Lehto in the town of Turko. They had several bands with several names in the 80's and 90's and Janne Hurme as a solo artist has achieved sales of 150.000 albums, and his breakthrough single called "Kirje" was one of the biggest selling hits of the last decade in Finland. He is also the frontman of cover/party band SEX A.M. and one of the vocalists of Rock City band - a heavy metal/hard rock cover project! And had a very successfull pop/schlager career from 1995.
Human Temple as they are today took their steps in 1998 - and in 2002 they made their first demo and now they have their first full record "Insomnia" out. The band features besides the two I already mentioned Jari Salo on guitars, Tony Green on keyboards and Karri Kinnunen on bass. They have also invited several gusts to participate - on guitars Emppu Vuorinen from Nightwish, Jani Liimatainen from Sonata Artica and Erkka Korhonen from Urban Tale and Taage Laiho from Altaria provided some backing vocals. And i must say the album really is a killer in a classic Scandinavian sense of the word!
The overall concept is similar to a band like Swedish Grand Illusion with grans melodies spanning from ballads to hard rock over AOR, but all with a an amazing production, great musicianship and fantastic songs! Its hard to choose some stand outs - but the big big ballad "Desert Rain" is among those song that I hum in my shower these days, but also opener "I'm sorry" is a really heavy rocker - Janne Hurme has a very dynamic and powerful voice and he continues on "Goin' all the way" and tops on the epic "Judas my Brother" with a piano intro and a very heavy - Whitesnake anno 1987 go home!
This is highly recommended if you like the Scandinavian approach to melodic hard rock - "Insomnia" will spin for a long time at my place!

Vagh / Into the Future Zone / SCSP 002


Vagh - Robin Vagh is back with a more mature release! Tracklisting:To Hell and back again; Can't reach you; I wanna feel Love; Love touch; Show me Heaven tonight; Calling on you; Moment of a Touch; Rebecca; Invincible; Don't turn away; This feeling inside; Future Zone.

Vagh released their debut back in 2002 as an "hommage to the 80's" and the bands mission is still the same, i presume. The recipe is catchy melodic rock fronted with a strong lead vocal and mixed with some real heavy guitar work.
The band Vagh features Jonas Blum on vocals, Anders Rosell on drums and keyboards and Jan-Åke Jönsson on bass and this time band founder and guitarist/keyboard player/producer Robin Vagh has called in excellent singer John Marshall Gibbs and Noomi Strågeforson on each songs - Noomi, who also provided an excellent female touch to the debut. And the guitar work is supplied with David Persson and Henrik Hansson wo also did the mix.
From 2002 till now Robin Vagh obviously has worked a lot with the arrangements - "Into the Future Zone" is an absolute ambitious album with good melodies, catchy vocals and a marvellous production - even the art work is outstanding - and as on the debut it is provided by the much hailed Matthias Norén from Progart.
An example on the evolution is the magnificient mellow track "I wanna feel Love" with its great chorus and blasting solo - a classic melodic rock song. Followed by the almost-Purple-esque "Love Toch" with a grand Hammond intro. But also "Show me Heaven tonight" is a great track with its fine keyboards in the background - i remember the 80's now!
Vagh has made great step forwards - hopefully this band will be on a "major" label one day, where we can get the full monty from this splendid Swedish guitarist!

Aquila / Man with a Mission / Starlight Publishing


Aquila - Fred Hendrix is back! Tracklisting:Oh Boy; One in a Million; He wants it (Real Life); Bite Me; What would I do; Man with a Mission; Shaking me Baby; Still standing; Rescue me; A thousand Rainbows; I'm gonna win; Run; Seven Days; All cried out.

Aquila is build around Fred Hendrix from Dutch (or Belgian ??) progressive rockers Terra Nova. In 2000 the band broke up due to problems with their Dutch record company. But vocalist/guitarist Fred Hendrix refused to give up and he formed Aquila - together with Ron Hendrix on organ/keyboards and Fred Derix on drums.
I haven't heard Terra Nova - but several websites has categorized Aquila as an acustic pendent to Hendrix previous band. Nevertheless this is great guitar driven AOR/Hard Rock at its best - compared with other independent releases "Man with a Mission" has a very professionel sound and overall approach. The album has a marvellous production and on the first two track you can almost see the energy float out the loud speakers - very dynamic power pop fronted by Fred Hendrix on his charateristic hoarse high pitched vocals and some superb guitar work!
The best track to me is "He wants it (Real Life)" with a great chorus and a melody that makes you want to jump and dance all night!
I can only recommend you to check out AOR Heaven - you won't be disappointed by this fresh power pop/AOR/melodic rock release!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2004