Reviews October/06

Zeno / Runway to the Gods / MTM 0681 - 176


Zeno - returns as a duo with Michael Bormann! Tracklisting:Fanfares of Love; Climb the Sky; land of Illusion; Shades of Blue; Runway to the Gods; Sogno Di Angelo; Refugees; I feel - I live; Purify (Pilgrims of Remembrance); Do you feel the Time; Sunset Birds flying home (instr.).

Zeno has always been years and years of releasing new material. But it has always been woth waiting for - and I have always been a sucker for Mr. Roth's excuisite production, melodies, guitar playing and let's say typical German phrasin'...
After Michael Flexig and Tommy Hart - Zeno has joined forces with former Jaded heart vocalist Michael Bormann and he is an excellent replacement for the two others! He can manage to cover the spectrum from the rockier tracks to the ballad-esque feelings with his fine hoarse voice!
My favorite tracks are "Runway to the Gods" with its very fine easter-inspired intro and the rockier "I feel - I live" with all its clichees! But also "Do you feel the Time" where Zeno handles the lead vocals himself is a very listenable track.
This album is amust for every lover of German hard rock - Zeno has a very significant guitar sound and style - if you you like that "Runway to the Gods" is worth the wait.

Marin Briley / It comes in Waves / MTM 0681 - 177


Martin Briley - finally on his own! Tracklisting:It comes in Waves; Church of Disney; Big Sun; I don't think she misses me at all; Me and my invisible Friend; The Massage; In the dim Light of a brand new Day; Invisible; Pray for Rain; That song, Fake Horizon.

Martin Briley is a singer/songwriter/instrumentalist who worked for several renowned artists. Now he is releasing his new (fourth) solo album “It Comes In Waves” on MTM MUSIC.
He was then signed Mercury Records as a solo artist, winning critical acclaim for his self-penned albums. Probably, Martin is - according to the press material - best known for his top 40 and MTV hit single "Salt in My Tears". Since this success, Martin has become one of the most prominent writers in America, has received orchestral commissions and has written songs for artists such as Celine Dion, Michael Bolton and Kenny Loggins, just to name a few.
As an instrumentalist he has recorded and/or performed with Julian Lennon, Bonnie Tyler and Engelbert Humperdinck;) As a back-up vocalist he can be heard almost everywhere - from recordings by Celine Dion and Mark Anthony to the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack - in my humble collection i have him named on recordings with Burtnick, Night ranger and Ellen Foley!
With this impressing CV it is as predictable, stabil and consistance as you could expect. Martin Briley starts out with the mellow and melancolic title track but gets more rockier on "Church of Disney" - but thats about all the rock you got - the rest of the album is good clean westcoast inspired tunes - all very nice performed by Briley himself. A must for all AOR/westcoast fans! Metal heads should listen before they rush out and buy this one, though!

Wuthering Heights / The Shadow Cabinet / LM320 CD PROMO


Wuthering Height - Louder and more majestic than before! Tracklisting:Demon Desire; Beautifool; The Raven; Faith (Apathy Divine part I); Envy; Snow (Apathy Divine part II); I shall not yield; Reason...?; Carpe Noctem - seize the Night; Midnight Song (bonus track Europe).

I have always had great difficulties placing this Danish/Swedish five-piece on a musical map. In their grand epic compositions there are elements from almost every genre - folk, power metal, classical, progressive and orchestral hard rock. Like taking a mix of Gary Moore, Blackmore's Night, Ronnie James Dio, Vanden Plas, King Diamond and Skyclad! (get the picture?)
Wuthering Heights has always been the brainchild of guitarist now also bassist Erik Ravn - and on this 2006 release he is joined by fellow Danes Martin Arendal (Manticora) on guitar, Morten Gade Sørensen on drums and three Swedes Teddy Möller on the bass, Andreas Lindahl (Platitude) on keyboards and of course ace vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson from Astral Doors who now has fronted the band since 2003. "The shadow Cabinet" is like its predecessors "Far from the madding Crowd" and "to travel for Evermore" produced by Tommy Hansen at the Jailhouse Studios - and the keywords on that is crystal clear, powerful and on the spot! The always epic amazing artwork is this time made by Annika Von Holdt and Claus Jensen from Intromental Management.
This new release is very clearly a product from Wuthering Heights but there are more elements from the melodic genre and more folk/gaelic music roots - and the album functions with nerve and intensity.
I think this release is the best from this folk/speed/progressive/whatever band because of its clearly leaning towards the folk elements including violins and hammond organ (played by Tommy Hansen) combined with the very huge arrangement with an amazing production and a lot of good stories and melodies in the valise - and a lot of great guitarwork and power. The whole album works great with majestic songs like "Beautifool" and "Envy" - not to forget the 2-part epic "Aparthy Divine" represented by the tracks "Faith" and "Snow". As a fine little gesture the band has covered the old Ache track "Shadow of a Gipsy" for the Japanese edition, "Midnight song" for the European market and "Roaming far from Home - live" for the American market.

© Steen Elstrup Pejtersen 1999-2006