Reviews September/02

Xinema / Different Ways / Unicorn Records 5004


Xinema - melodic, progressive, hard rock without limits! Tracklisting:In the Scent of the Night; Over the Sea; The last Flower; Timing; One Day; Different Ways; Maybe Time; Across the Styx; Distant Lights; How can I believe; The Secret; Blind is the Light.

The Swedes must have some kind of genetic ability for music. In this case Xinema has made a very complex album - combining musical ability with strong production and good melodies.
The bands motto is: "- A good song is always a good song regardless of genre." and the bandmembers themselves feel that they are standing with one leg in the melodic/AOR field, and with the other in the progressive realm. The band in its present formation has played together since 1985 in a band called Madrigal, and played music inspired by Rush, Genesis, Yes, Kansas and Styx. In 1999 the 3 guys Mikael Askemur on vocals, bass and keyboards, Sven Larsson on guitar and Jonas Thķren on drums was ready to play together as Xinema.
Whereas they in the mid 80's was inspired by the bands mentioned above, you can hear the presens of more laid back soft AOR like Asia and/or Saga, with lots of keyboards and catchy choruses. It is already a fact on the first track "In the Scent of the Night" - a nice song with a catchy chorus and great use of the keyboards to create a spheric mood and a vey Sag-like guitar sole - very good! But there are other memorable tracks on this album and track # 2 "Over the Sea" is another track that would have blown everybody away in the mid 80's. But the epic title track "Different Ways" is my highlight of this great independent album - it starts out with Askemur's vocals only backed up by a piano - a great track.
All in all I appriciate this album very much from the first note - a miss a bit uptempo tracks though, but from a debut independent band - this is absolutely great!

Fatal Smile / Beyond Reality / SOTRCD 003


Fatal mile - Hard rock from Sweden! Tracklisting:Bad Kharma; The Saviour; Butterflies; Circle of Fire; Warfear; Beyond Reality; Xcuse me; Scene of a Crime; Chrush on U; No Love.

Fatal Smile is another band from Sweden (where on earth are they hiding all these talents?) based around guitarist YŁksel Unatmaz who formed the band back in 1994 in a small town called Katrineholm. Later on he moved to Stockholm and the actual line up includes H.B. Anderson on vocals known for his previous job at fellow Swedes Scudiero, Marcus Johansson on bass and Robin Lagerqvist on drums.
Their music is best described as a mixture of "classic" heavy rock with catchy choruses and blitzing guitar work. Imagine Metallica with Tommy Iommi on guitars and Yngwie Malmsteen as a co-writer. One of my favorites is the melodic "The Saviour" with a very cacthy guitar riff, a good choir work and a good performance by Anderson. But actually there are tracks like "Circle of Fire" that starts a bit ballad-esque but soon it's a hard hitting track - rather good!
I must say that Tis record is a pleasant surprise - hard hitting and melodic, with good guitar work, a tight rhythm section and a good vocal performance. Their deal with GMR Music will be launching this CD in Scandinavia at first and then in the whole wide world!!

JK Northrup / Best of - Play it on 11 / MTM 0681-52


JK Northrup - a splendid guitarst of many genres! Tracklisting:When there's Smoke; Rough Life; Walk on Water; Here and Gone; Remember me; The Kid is back in Town; Ready for the Rain; I.M.N.U.; Bye bye to Love; Girls like you; Minds Eye; My Shell; Dancin' Feet; Where you belong; Used to be.

JK Northrup made a good job on the Paul Shortino album "Back On Track", I think and I remember King Cobra's "III" as a fairly good album, too. But as a solo artist Mr. Northrup never seemed to make his final break through.
This is a good collection with some of the best track from his carreer up until now - featuring material from artists like Shortino, Flynn and Foreigner. The records also feartures a lot of good vocalists, bassists and drummers like Paul Shortino, Johnny Edwards, Terry Illious, James Kottak, Vinnie Appice, Carmine Appice, Glenn Hicks, Tony Franklin, Jeff Pilson, Sean McNabb and Larry Hart.
For the people who are unfamiliar with the previous work from this splendid guitarist the album is a great appetizer for the upcoming reunion album with Johnny Edward! Good old, big arena rock with a strong melodic edge!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2002