I was waiting with some eagerness for this first solo album from Jon Oliva, having been a fan of his work for more years than I’d care to mention.

For those of you unfamiliar with the name (shame on you) Jon first came to prominence together with his brother Criss when they formed the band Savatage.

This collaboration lead to a prolific song writing team up until Criss’s untimely death in a car crash some 20 years ago. Savatage continued with Jon taking somewhat of a back seat having removed himself from vocal duties but continuing to write.

Jon went on to form Jon Oliva’s Pain as well as being the brains behind Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO)

Well that’s the groundwork prepared, onto the album itself. If you are already familiar with Jon’s work then this album won’t come as a big surprise. That’s not to say it’s boringly predictable.

First off we have the title track ‘Raise The Curtains’  And what an appropriately titled track it is. With a fanfare of Hammond organ style keyboards, there’s almost a 70’s British feel to it, in the vein of say ELP.

The strong keyboards continue on ‘Soul Chaser’, with Jon’s distinctive vocal delivery being fired at the microphone.

‘Ten Years’ you know straight away has Savatage all over it.

We then move onto one of my favorite tracks off the album. And that is ‘Father Time’ I cannot get the opening riff out of my head.

That riff underpins the whole song with very strong and powerful lyrics which you gain understanding of more and more as you repeat listen.

‘I Know’ is again a song so Savatage in form and style. This I must remind you is not a bad thing. Far far from it.

Next up we have ‘Big Brother’ which to me is more Jon Oliva’s Pain (JOP) namely the heavier feel to the vocals and quite sinister music.

‘Armageddon’ is an instrumental number, very for-boding which of course suits the song title and finishes in a chilling and appropriate manner.

For ‘Soldier’ Jon slows things down. Yes it’s a ballad, but one in the vein of say Savatage’s ‘Out On The Streets’

I’d say Jon throws caution to the wind and sings in almost a maniacal way on ‘Stalker’ It took me a few listens to realise what the song so strongly reminds me of. And that’s Alice Cooper.

‘Witch’ has a real seventies feel to it, which to be honest is something which underlies the majority of the album. No not cheesy seventies, but solid hard rocking seventies. Think of bands like Uriah Heep, a band of which Jon is a big fan,hence the huge influence.

Well there are so many elements in the longest track on the album. ‘Can’t Get Away’ has elements of blues, dare I say pop and a whole lot more. But Jon gets away with this hotchpotch of styles with aplomb.

And so we come to the final track of the album, ‘The Truth’ a bonus track on which there’s acoustic guitar and accordion. It highlights Jon’s ability to sing in a more mellow style as well as his trademark vocals.

To sum up, do I like the album. Your damn right I do, in fact I’ve even bought 1 of only 800 double disc vinyl copies to truly sink into this glorious soundtrack of seventies influenced rock, tinged with Savatage finery.

“Raise The Curtain” track listing:

01. Raise The Curtain
02. Soul Chaser
03. Ten Years
04. Father Time
05. I Know
06. Big Brother
07. Armageddon
08. Soldier
09. Stalker
10. The Witch
11. Can’t Get Away
12. The Truth (bonus track)

Oliva_logo_blackJon Oliva


Review: Meridian – Metallurgy

Mighty Music (2014)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I had the real good fortune of being sent a copy of this as yet unreleased album by my good friend Martin J Anderson, the guitarist with Danish rock band Blindstone.

Martin is also involved with Meridian, having played on five of the ten tracks, the other five having been played by former lead guitarist Mads Bahl.

After the first couple of tracks it was really starting to bug me who vocalist Lars Märker reminded me of. Then it struck me. There’s a real similarity between Lars and Sargant Fury vocalist Andrew “Mac” McDermott (R.I.P.) Well trust me, that ain’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.

Now for those of you who love to pigeon hole bands I’m afraid your not going to get a straight answer. Yes parts of  the album are I guess heavy metal. However overall the album is to me a good, solid album of hard rock. The sort of hard rock that I personally love.

The album kicks off with a decent length intro track (2.17) called ‘Introminator’. And it certainly helps set the stage for what’s to follow. Now it’s a bit of a struggle to pick a ‘favorite’ as such as the album is consistently strong throughout. I guess if you held a gun to my head and said pick one then it would be ‘Between Love And Hate’

Yes I could wax lyrical and drone on like some album reviews do…….but that ain’t my style. I’m just going to say I hope this gets a release sooner rather than later, and then you too can experience some proper rock music.

01 Introminator

02 Between Love And Hate

03 Narrowmind

04 Human Price

05 Frozen In Time

06 The Machine

07 Red Horizon

08 Seeking Immortal Life

09 Only The Strong

10 My Enemy



Occasionally I need an album or bit of music just to sit back, headphones on and chill too.

Ascension is such an album. Now don’t get me wrong, this is no mere background noise. Far from it. This is a fine body of work from accomplished musicians who delve deep into the music, bringing out an emotional feel to the album in a way other bands could only wish.

??????????????????????????????? Steve Gresswell, the writer & man behind The Inner Road is someone who only recently was brought to my attention. And I’m very grateful that he was.

Tracks Like The Awakening just flow with some extraordinarily  technical guitar work by Jay Parmar & layers Jay1

of keyboards from Steve.

The whole album just flows in such a way you don’t really notice where one track ends & another begins, if that makes sense?

This album will certainly be added to my ‘relaxing’ playlist and I shall be watching with real interest what The Inner Road will be doing in the years to come.

Moritz - SOS

Well I’ve finally got my hands on the much anticipated new release from British melodic rock / AOR band Moritz.

The fact I’m writing this review is the first indication that I’m not disappointed. Start playing and your immediately greeted with the sort of melodic rock /AOR that British bands have long since been famous for.

Let’s remember one thing, if the singer doesn’t cut it then the rest of the music is really somewhat irrelevant as the listener is immediately put off. But Pete Scallan’s vocals are superb, showing us that he’s not lost any of the tone and range from days gone by.

There’s always a danger with melodic rock / AOR releases that the keyboards will be too prominent in the mix. Thankfully this is not the case with SOS, the production & mix certainly pleasing to these old ears of mine.

I must not forget to mention the rest of the band, Gregg Hart & Mike Nolan on guitars, Ian Edwards on bass, Andy Stewart on keyboards and joining the original line up is John Tonks delivering just the right amount of attack on the drums.

Stand out tracks for me would have to be ‘Invincible’ ‘Soul of Fire’ & the first single off the album ‘Gonna Lose Her’

So is this release ‘over hyped?’ Not for me it isn’t & I cannot wait to see them perform this new material live.

Rating 9/10

Track listing: Fire, Can’t Hide My Heart, Gonna Lose Her, Remember Yesterday, Mercury Falling, Amberlee, Caught Between Life & The Light, Invincible, Flying Too Close To The Sun, Soul Of Fire, SOS


Peter Scallan – Lead & backing vocals

Greg Hart – Electric & acoustic guitars, vocals

Mike Nolan – Electric guitar, vocals

Ian Edwards – Bass, synthesizers, Hammond organ, vocals

Andy Stewart – Piano, Wurlitzer, synthesizers

John Tonks – Drums, percussion, programing


Well I’ve finally got my hands on Redrum’s new album ‘ Victim Of Our Circumstances’

Been rather looking forward to this release having liked their first album and also being a fan of Michael Bormann’s work.

Michael has taken the helm with this release, and once again this German/Greek collaboration has really come together, giving us a coherent, well paced slice of melodic rock. You’ll certainly recognize one of the tracks as it’s cover version of the John Farnham classic ‘You’re The Voice’

The rest of the tracks are a fine examples of well structured tunes, which for me personally I find instantly likeable.

Stand out track for me is ‘Dust In Your Eyes’ which has a fabulous bluesy feel to it.

So there you are, Michael Bormann still delivering the goods vocally and the rest of the band giving us a tight and powerful output.

Another album I’d highly recommend.

Rating 8/10

Label – RMB Records

Tracklisting: One Of Us, Scream, You Can’t Buy No Hero, Dust In Your Eyes, Empty Promises, Pokerface, Dirty White Boy

Mother I’m Coming Home, Tear Down The Walls, Have A Nice Day, Victim’s of Our Circumstances, You’re The Voice.


Athan “Lyssa” Kazakis – Guitars
Panos Baxevanis – Guitars
Michael Bormann – Vocals
Marco Grasshoff – Keyboards
Alex Kidd – Bass
Thanos Sarketzis – Drums


I’ve been waiting ‘patiently’ for this release ever since the band announced that all the recording/mastering etc was complete.

I’ve been a fan of Pretty Maids after first seeing the video for ‘Love Games’ which prompted me to buy Future World plus all their previous releases and of course all releases since, come to that!

“Well of course your going to like it” I here you say, “your a fan.” Well that’s true I guess. However I don’t blindly follow a band. Instead I am critical of their output where I think necessary. To remain consistent throughout a career is not easily done.

‘Motherland’ does not disappoint on any level. It is just what the doctor ordered. A breath of fresh air amongst what has to be said are a lot of samey releases by various bands, to a point that you could be hearing one of half a dozen different acts.

It grabs you by the throat, in a good way, immediately serving up a slice of pure melodic metal. Stand out tracks? Tricky one that as I love them all. However if I do have to give examples then I’ll go with ‘Sad To See You Suffer’ & ‘ Wasted’

Rating – 10/10

Label: Frontiers Records Music Style: Melodic Metal
Cat #: FR CD 593 Cod: 8024391059326
Release dates:
EU: March 22nd 2013
NA: March 26th 2013
Tracklisting: Mother Of All Lies; To Fool A Nation; Confession; The Iceman; Sad To See You
Suffer; Hooligan; Infinity; Why So Serious; Motherland; I See Ghosts; Bullet For You; Who What
Where When Why; Wasted.

Ronnie Atkins – vocals
Ken Hammer – guitars
Morten Sandager – keyboards
Allan Tschicaja – drums
Rene Shades – bass