Reviews March/05

Fate / Scratch'N Sniff / MTM 0681-126


Fate - One of my all time favorites re-released by MTM! Tracklisting:Gotta have it all; You're the best; Walk on fire; Freedom; Won't let you down; The Whalesong; Larry; Good Times coming; One by One; Surgeon in Love; Wanna be your Lover; Think for yourself. Just a Stranger (bonus track); Don't do drugs (bonus track).

Finally Fate's rockiest and most complete album "Scratch 'N Sniff" is re-released on CD. Originally released back in 1990 and dynamically produced by Tommy Hansen in the Jailhouse Studios.
This is in fact Fate#3 because "Scratch 'N Sniff" was after original guitarist Hank Sherman (aka Rene Krolmark) has left the band around 1987 and original vocalist Jeff Lox Limbo (aka Jens Meinert) left a year or two later.
Drummer Bob Lance who suddenly took his Danish name Bjarne T. Holm again and bassist Peter Steincke recruited vocalist Per Johansson (Henriksen) (Ex Crystal Knight/ Dorian Gray/ Evil/ Lavina/Palladion) and Swedish guitar ace Matthias Eklundh (Ex Frozen Eyes) and this quartet recorded in my opinion the bands most dynamic and powerful album. With un-ending gigantic list of melodic tracks - which so many years after their original release still is sheer ear-candy - like "You're the Best", "Freedom", "Won't let you down", "Larry" "One by one" and ... and ... I remember being blown off then by the over all sound but also the guitar style of Matthias Eklundh was quite breathtaking - and still is! Unfortunately the band was caught in the bad sandwich of a fusion between multinational label EMI which bought the Danish label Medley and they did not want to re-sign the group because of the rather un-trendy image melodic rock had in the Grunge-era.
As you probably know Steincke left music business, Holm played the drums in Mercyful Fate and now Force Of Evil, Eklundh went to form Freak Kitchen and Johansson went to the States but now has a power pop duo with his wife Heidi called Ureas. But the massive request of the records and the bettered conditions for the melodic rock in general has done that Fate has re-united this time with Johansson on vocals, Steincke on bass and Sören Hoff on guitar (who was in the band for a short while back in 1992) - drummer is TBA. There are two bonus tracks from the "Hardcore Romance"-era (anno 1992) included on this record "Just a Stranger" and "Don't do Drugs".
So if you don't already have it or - like me - want to update from vinyl to CD format buy this cornerstone in Danish melodic rock history!

Beyond Twilight / Section X / MAS PC0452


Beyond Twilight - Finn Zierler is bigger than ever! Tracklisting:Be careful it's my Head too; The Path of Darkness; Shadow Self; Sleeping Beauty; The dark Side; Portrait F in dark Waters; Ecstasy arise; Section X.

Danish prog rock outfit Beyond Twilight is first and foremost the brainchild of keyboard wizzard Finn Zierler - but on this second album under this moniker (debut "The Devil's Hall of fame" from 2001) the overall feeling is that it is now a band thing more than a single man's project. The tracks are even more dramatic, more progressive and more rough than anything they did before - just listen to "Portraits F in dark Waters"...
The core of the band is as mentioned Finn Zierler, who played in the band Twilight with guitarists Anders Lindgren and Anders Exo Kragh supplied with drummer Thomas Freden - this time they have expanded with American vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter and guitarist Jacob Hansen from Danish metal mentors Invocator.
This has lifted Beyond Twilight to another musical level and combined with the excellent production by Zierler himself and Tommy Hansen in the Jailhouse Studios this is a very exciting release.
To give this record a nice visual expression, too the cover art work by Mathias Norén at Progart is outstanding. Dark and dramatic like the rest of it!
It is hard to point out individual tracks - you should really listen to the whole package in one unbroken piece and enjoy! Sometime in the near future there will be a Digipack available with a conceptual videoclip featuring UK's goth Princess Morrigan Hel!

Novak / Forever Endeavour / MTM 0681-125


Andreas Novak - the singer from Minds Eye going solo! Tracklisting:Nowhere to run; How does it feel; Save me; Forever Endeavour; Another Woman; By your Side; Extreme Fakeover; Follow your Heart; Carry on; Don't you remind me; Back to the free World; Gates of Defeat.

Vocalist/guitarist Andreas Novak has took some time off Swedish prog-rock act Mind's Eye. Although his bandmate drummer/keyboard/producer Daniel Flores has got a leading role on this release.
Besides these two proud Swedes there are guest appearences by bass players Mathias Garnås (Xsaviour), Johan Niemann (Therion), Andreas Olson (Narnia), Anders Pirinen (Sub 5) and Thomas Bristulf nad the guitar solos is handled by the "cream of the crop" in Swedish 6 string business Tommy Denander (of course - he must be the most busy man in this area), Benny Janson (Xsavior), Kristian Niemann (Therion), Johnny Öhlin (Dionysos), Daniel Palmqvist (Orange Crunch) - and there is a duet with Martina Edoff on the track “Another Woman”.
Andreas Novak started to sing at the age of 8, and began to play the guitar at the age of 9. He appeared mainly as a guitar player in various bands during the 80's, doing background singing only. At a time when the world was full of guitarists and the lack of competent lead singers was obvious, his final choice of expressing himself came naturally. Andreas has experienced vocal teachers such as: Bertil Larsson, Daniel Zangger-Borsch (Alien), Johanna Nyström (the Real Group) and Sara Isaksson (Gloria). Studying at the Stockholm Music Conservatory in 1998, Andreas got in touch with Daniel Flores of Mind's Eye. Andreas also appeared in Andrew Lloyd Webber´s "Jesus Christ Superstar" in Sweden and Lithuania during 1999, playing the part of "Judas". His flair for orchestral arrangements and musical drama is revealed on the last track "Gates of Defeat".
On "Forever Endeavour" his voice and musical style is reminding me of the general style of John Waite and the time around the first Bad English record - the tracks "Extreme Fakeover" and "Back to the free World" could easily be from that happy time of melodic rock history. But also Novak's appearence in the Swedish edition of Fame Factory anno 2003 has given inspiration to a couple of more radiofriendly ballads like "Carry on", "Save me" and "Don't you remind me". But the track that really hits the nail right on the spot is "By your side" with it's contagious chorus and Andreas Novak singing fellow Swede Joey Tempest his socks off...
There are many top quality releases from sweden these years in the genre - but this record is hard to top, Andreas Novak has made a classic in spe!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2005