Reviews March/03

Jim Jidhed / Full Circle / ATZ02006


Jim Jidhed - THE voice of melodic rock from Sweden!! Tracklisting:I will never leave you now; Full Circle; Silence of your Heart; Someday; I can't go on; Anyway you want it; Now we cry; Lost Angels; I'll be ready then; Falling in Love; Wish you were here; Don't close your Eyes; Marie.

Everything between "I will never leave you now" and "Marie" is absolutely AOR-heaven. Jim Jidhed has made a little classic in spe here in collaboration with guitarist/producer/songwriter Tommy Denander and label-boss Magnus Söderkvist from Atenzia Records.
Since the glorious Alien days Mr. Jidhed has always had a special spot in my heart - and after the magnificent track "Silent Cries" on Denanders Radioactive album from 2001 I have been looking forward to this solo release - and i'm NOT disappointed!
Already the first track "I will never leave you now" is a great catchy 100% pure AOR track that continues with some ballads like the before mentioned "Marie" and the heartwrenching "I can't go on" - some TOTO-esque hard rockers like "Someday" and "Now we cry" and a more "edgier" "Anyway you want it" and a cover-tune "Lost Angels" penned by Steve Perry and Clif Magness and originally on the Raine album called "Peace" - on the Jidhed version the back ground vocals is handled by members of Urban Tale.
Hopefully this will be a guide line to other labels - AOR can be brought to a bigger audience (i sincerely hope) with a budget to match the ambitions! Jim Jidhed has delived a 100% waterproof AOR classic with a high class production by Tommy Denander and great musicians to back the multi layered songs up. All in all a MUST have for all lovers of the (Scandinavian) melodic rock and AOR music!

Ignition / Ignition / ATZ 02007


Ignition - Swedish melodic rock par excellence!! Tracklisting:Down on my Luck; Tell me your mine; Father (save me); Fire with Fire; You can't fool me no more; Babylon; Night after Night; Goodbye to the good Times; Should have done you right; First to cry; Time is running out.

Ignition is one more classy release from the Swedish label Atenzia Records. The band is based around the four experienced musicians Jan Johansen on vocals, Pontus Egberg on the bass, Peter Söderström on keyboards/guitar and producer, by the way and last but not least Johan Kullberg on drums.
But even if this four-some is very well known in the Scandinavian pop and rock scene many of the tracks is penned by others - and this is not nescessarily a minus because some of the "ghost"-writers are Tommy Funderburk, Billy Sherwood, Bob Marlette, Kelly Keeling, Matti Alfonzetti and Clif Magness! And the backing vocals are handled by the eminent Göran Edman.
Like the Jidhed recorded it is hard to pick favorites but the absolute killer for me is the magnificent AOR song "First we cry" which reminds me of the glorious days back the 80's with bands like Signal and/or Winger but also the more hard rocking track "Night after Night" - penned by the Unruly Child duo Sherwood/Allison - not to forget "Goodbye to the good Times" and the semi acoustic "Should have done you right" and ..... Every single track oouzes with style and excellent musicianship and what a voice Mr. Johansen has - great attitude and what a range.
It will be very hard for Atenzia Records to follow up on these two class acts (Jidhed included) because the Swedes has once again prooved that they are in a leaque of their own on the Scandinavian melodic rock scene - and believe me, as a Danish cititzen these words doesn't come easy! But I must admit as the first months of 2003 has past away these are the cold facts - and Ignition has been a very pleasent surprise, indeed!

Chrome Shift / Ripples in Time / DVS 008


Chrome Shift - Danish progressive rock/metal! Tracklisting:Nightmachine; Full Moon; In my own Dream; Shadowsong; Through; Kosmonauten er død; Les Temps des Assassins; Sorry; Ripples in Time I-IV.

This is the debut album from the Danish progressive rock/metal quintet Chrome Shift - and may I add here, that FINALLY a band from Denmark appears to the surface!
The story behind Chrome Shift is that guitarist Otto Schütt and bassist Jens Christian Nielsen got together and decided to form a metal band back in 1999. Soon the teamed up with piano-player Jakob Paulsen and drummer Poul Terkildsen and as a quartet they played for about a year - searching for the perfect voice to match the progressive style inspired by Pain Of Salvation, Vanden Plas and/or Psychotic Waltz. Finally they found Rasmus Bak and rehearsed only once before they recorded a demo-CD in Aabenraa-studios with the (in Denmark) well known producer/guitarist Jacob Hansen.
But now they have it all "dressed for success" with a good produced record containing breathtaking complex musical expression without forgetting the melodic message. The album is all in all a very nice product to look and touch with the astonishing artwork by Mattias Norén of and released through the new enthusiastic label DVS Records and managed by Intromental Management.
... and now for something completely different: The music! From the first tones in the first song "Nightmachine" Chrome Shift show their colours - guitardriven, complex and musically very intelligent and with wide ranged vocals to match the music. Of course there are some instumentals too, like the song with the funny title "Kosmonauten er død" (The Cosmonaut is dead) - but the real clue is the tracks 9-12 which is one long opus "Ripples in Time I-IV", Excellent!
Let's hope that that this young enthusiastic fivesome from Denmark will show the way for some others bands - we have a proud tradition in Denmark for especially the melodic rock - but this progressive outburst is very welcome, indeed!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2003