Review: Carl Dixon – Unbroken

AOR Heaven (November 29th 2019)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Carl Dixon is better known as silver throated singer of Canadian melodic rockers Coney Hatch. They were the classic example of critical success and had three magnificent albums in the 1980s. The last of these was the humungous ‘Friction‘, which to this day is still one of my favourite albums. I did see Coney Hatch in 2014 at Firefest to coincide with their comeback album ‘Four‘. However, I must confess, I haven’t really kept up with Carl’s solo career, so I was intrigued to get this one to review.

Opening with ‘Can’t Love a Memory‘, this is a pacey, melodic rocker that illustrates just how much influence Dixon exerted over the Coney Hatch sound. And the man hasn’t lost his voice either! Great start! The intro of keyboards and guitar are reminiscent of Journey for the next number. Called ‘Bowl Me Over‘, once the song kicks in properly it is another riff-lade melodic rocker and I am back in 80s heyday of melodic rock. The clean guitar intro belies the pacey melodic rocker that is ‘Nothing Lasts Forever‘. Lyrically the song is obviously a biographical song about Carl’s days in 80s with Coney Hatch and takes me back to my own days in the 80s with Moritz when I lived in London.

‘Every Step of the Way‘ has an almost contemporary rock intro but then kicks into a great staccato guitar riff with overlayed lead licks. Another well-arranged and executed melodic rocker with great light and shade. There is a harmony vocal intro to ‘Summer Nights‘ but the song doesn’t turn into the poppy summertime melodic rocker I anticipated. Instead what get is a more complexly arranged number which ebbs and flows with a number of changes of beat which work well. Next up is ‘All My Love and Hopes for You‘, which is a ballad. For me this is possibly the weakest song on the album and just doesn’t really get going, albeit there is a pretty catchy chorus. Maybe one that will grow on me with a few more listens.

‘This Isn’t The End‘ opens with an archetypal Coney Hatch guitar riff and continues in that vein and could easily sit on Outa Hand, Coney Hatch’s second album. Another great melodic rocker. Continuing in that vein, ‘Drive Just Drive‘ opens up a like a track from ‘Friction‘ and is another powerful melodic riffing rocker. However, the chorus is a little weak for me compared with the rest of the song. Good none the less! Next song, ‘Roll the Dice‘, just picks up from the last song and delivers another solid slice of melodic rock with some nice guitar work too.

With a sequenced keyboard intro and guitar lick over it, ‘Keep the Faith‘ is more 80s AOR than straight forward melodic rock. Again, this song didn’t quite gel for me until after a couple of listens, but once it did it really grew on me. Last but by no means least, is the title track ‘Unbroken‘. This strangely sounds a little like Eden’s Curse with the guitar playing, especially the harmony guitars. A mid-paced rocker it fittingly brings the album to a close.

This is a great album, but unlikely to make Carl Dixon many new fans. There are some great songs here, but it lacks a little in consistency. However, there are no fillers. If you like Coney Hatch and you are looking for a new fix, then my advice would be to get a hold of this and you won’t be disappointed.

In early 2013 Carl Berglund and his old bandmate Jan Skärming decided to fulfil their musical dream, writing songs reduced to its very core by 80’s rock giants. These were songs with emotional harmonies from pure British AOR, with the power of American hard rock, sprinkled with hooks from the new era of Swedish melodic rock.

Joining them in the songwriting came Lars Nygren in spring 2014 (vocals), a friend of Carls since high school. When equipped with a ton of hard hitting melodic rock songs written, the missing pieces of the puzzle joined forces. They turned out to be Jonas Nordquist (lead guitar), drummer Michael Sjöö (replaced by Peppe Vikman in August 2018) and Jens Rüttgeroth on keyboards (member since October 2017).

In May 2016 they picked four songs and put them onto Spotify, iTunes, and a few other places with amazing reviews and response. In August 2016, the band signed a deal with AOR Heaven for a February 2017 release, and also later with Rubicon Music Japan. ‘In The Heat Of The Night‘ was recorded at Studio Thinner, the band’s own studio in Vasteras, Sweden, in the spring of 2016. It was produced by Age Of Reflection but the mixing and mastering was done by Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse, W.E.T. a.o).

After the summer 2018, AoR started writing new music for their next album. Age Of Reflection tried one of the new songs live at Rockingham festival, and the response was great! They went back into the studio and have now finished all the recordings. Again Erik Mårtensson has been doing the final magic on the album. ‘A New Dawn‘ will be released on September 27th, 2019 on AOR Heaven.

In November, AoR is going on a headlining tour in England supported by both A’priori and Atlas UK. After that there is H.E.A.T Festival in Germany. One of highlights in 2020, so far, is the HRH AOR festival in Wales in March.

Line up:

Carl Berglund: Guitars, Backing Vocals

Lars Nygren: Lead Vocals

Jan Skärming: Bass, Backing Vocals

Jens Rüttgeroth: Keyboards

Jonas Nordqvist: Lead guitar, Backing Vocals

Peppe Vikman: Drums, Backing Vocals

Official Website


Legendary song-writer Robert Tepper will release ‘Better Than The Rest‘ on September 27th, 2019 on AOR Heaven.

Robert Tepper, hailing from Bayonne, New Jersey, came up in the late 60’s playing in garage bands down on the Jersey shore. It wasn’t until a bit later that Tepper started to get recognition as a song writer with his first top 40 hit recorded by Paul Anka, ‘This Is Love‘. The song went on to earn an ASCAP award for its popularity that year and broke the top 40.

After moving to New York City, he teamed up with fellow singer Benny Mardones to help with his hit album ‘Never Run, Never Hide. On that record was the iconic song ‘Into The Night‘. In 2010 Usher released his own version of the song with a new dynamic arrangement.

It was in 1985 when Robert landed his first record deal with Scotti Brothers Records – a subsidiary of CBS. In the studio Tepper was very fortunate to have hired the expertise of grammy awarded producer Joe Chiccarelli who is known for his work with U2, Beck, Elton John and many more. In 1985 Tepper also moved to Los Angeles. It was about this time that actor and director Sylvester Stallone was taken by the song Tepper had written called ‘No Easy Way Out‘. Prominently featured in the film franchise Rocky the song climbed the charts into the American top 40. Stallone, now a Tepper fan, used his song ‘Angel of the City‘ in his classic movie Cobra giving Tepper the title of the soundtrack kid. Also, Pat Benatar’s recording of ‘La Bel Age‘ off of ‘Seven The Hard Way‘ was another Tepper Marshall composition.

In 1996 the album ‘No Rest For The Wounded Heart‘ was released by MTM Music exclusively for Europe. More recently he released an album that was categorized as an acoustic record with an electric tinge in the early 2000’s called ‘New Life Story‘. After a long lay off of live performances it was soon after the release of ‘New Life Story‘ that Tepper started doing shows in Europe. It was there that he met guitarist extraordinaire Pablo Padilla. Padilla, who is one of the premier guitarists in Spain, was soon to continue his musical journey in Los Angeles. Here he became Tepper’s music supervisor for all of his shows.

The new Robert Tepper album ‘Better Than The Rest‘ is a true collaboration between Tepper and Padilla. The writing and recording and mixing of this record took approximately a year. Tepper’s music has appeared in such hit films and TV shows such as South Park, Breaking Bad, Cobra, Rocky 4, and Get Hard.

Official Website

Review: Rob Moratti – Renaissance

AOR Heaven (21 June 2019)

Reviewer: David Pearce

Rob Moratti has been lead singer for Saga and the Final Frontier and has been a favourite of Japanese music lovers in particular.

His new album ‘Renaissance‘ sees Moratti going solo and this proves to be a good move as he starts with the West Coast sound of ‘You Are The One‘. While the guitars are crunching away Moratti’s voice sails above them with ease channelling diverse styles and sounding like a mix between the Eagles and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. He has a truly superb range and makes this opener a real convertible with the top down driving track!

Let Me Be The One‘ starts with an 80s synth before settling in to a smooth rock ballad that just oozes class. ‘Best of Me‘ sounds like classic REO Speedwagon and builds a gorgeous wall of sound featuring Moratti’s amazing vocals and a beautiful piano led tune.

Lift You Up‘ is another driving song that features a really strong chorus that sets off the verses very well.  ‘Hold on to Love‘ has a hint of the classic 80s group Huey Lewis and the News in the music and becomes a track that the listener can sing along to very quickly.

I Let You In‘ like ‘Let Me Be the One’ sounds like a bona fide rock classic pretty much straight away. ‘It’s Time to Let Go‘ has another great piano backing that reminds me of the best of Bruce Hornsby and the Range.

Mandy Come Home‘ starts with the most understated introduction on the album before moving into Europe territory with driving guitars and a Joey Tempest style vocal. ‘I Don’t Want to Wait Forever‘ sounds like the best of Paul Carrack and the tune has more than a hint of Silent Running in the verses. It is definitely my favourite track on the album and really should get some serious airplay.

The final track on this uniformly excellent album is ‘It Hurts to be in Love‘ which once again strolls confidently into Europe’s catalogue and is not found wanting in any way.

This is the album of a singer with a great voice, great range and great confidence. With the help of an experienced, versatile and incredibly talented set of musicians Rob Moratti has crafted a classic set of songs that demand to be listened to.

Review: Rockett Love –  Greetings From Rocketland

AOR Heaven (August 30th 2019)

Reviewer: Paul Saripo

Packed full of hard melodic rock, ‘Greetings From Rocketland‘ is due for release on 30th August 2019 on the AOR Heaven label.

This is the second album from the newish Swedish outfit Rockett Love, who are made up of precision AOR musicians that deliver hard on melody and riffs.

The album opens with ‘Back On My Feet’ a track to set the scene with heavy drums pounding and husky vocals a quite a fast and sure fire bass.

Next up is ‘Bite The Bullet’ sustaining the tempo of the 1st track, for some reason whilst I had my eyes closed absorbing the rhythm I had flash backs of an 80’s W.A.S.P. video that was never made.

Track three, ‘I Want Out’ is a masterpiece of well woven tapestry of sound testament to the musicianship of the band this is a big track with catchy riffs.

Now we get into track four, ‘Get Ready, Go!’, this has great potential as a radio friendly, boot tapping and singing along.

Track five, ‘Take Me Home’ opens with guitars and deep vocal melodies rising to high altitudes. The magic of this album continues with driving bass and rhythm section, fluid guitar solos and catchy bass lines.

Now we have track six, ‘King For One Day’ this will have you singing along, rocking your head.

Moving on to track seven, ‘Writing On The Wall’ this sets a slightly anxious sounding tone and carries you forward into some nice riffs.

Track eight is ‘Reaching Out’ and is doing just that. This has massive energy and expresses the bands range well. This wouldn’t be out of place alongside some early Judas Priest with a twist of Ozzy.

Moving onto track Nine ‘Like An Endless Distant Sky’ this is heavy and solid pure recipe to don your air guitar. Rock’n’roll.

Track ten we here a slight change toward a pop rock sound, ‘Wait’, aiming to a more mainstream narrative that would warrant a music video for MTV in the 80’s

The closing track, number eleven, ‘A Heart Without A Soul’, is a splendid mix of catchy lyrics and spontaneous foot tapping reaching a beefy ending to a well produced and thought-out album.

Review: Nitrate – Open Wide

AOR Heaven (June 21st 2019)

Reviewer: David Pearce

Nitrate are a five piece rock band who hark back to the days of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, two groups who still fill stadiums more than 30 years on from their breakthrough albums. There is always room for new bands to update the sound of 80s rock particularly when they are as good as Nitrate.

The new album ‘Open Wide‘ starts with the Bon Jovi style track ‘You Want It, You Got It‘ featuring Philip Lindstrand’s vocals which demonstrate a great range and style together with the lead guitar of Marcus Thurston.

Night Time City‘ demonstrates the smoother side of Lindstrand’s vocals backed by Nick Hogg’s excellent bass work and Pete Newdeck on drums as the song builds into an anthemic Europe style belter. ‘Only a Heartache Away‘ is the kind of rock ballad that Nitrate proved so adept at on their debut album with Def Leppard style lyrics and Rob Wylde’s excellent keyboard work providing a solid base for LIndstrand as he turns in another polished performance.

The driving guitars of ‘Heart Go Wild‘ put me in mind of Judas Priest as Nitrate go into heavier territory to great effect. It will definitely be a live favourite whenever it is played. ‘I Don’t Want To Live‘ is a no frills rock track with a great guitar solo.

Never Surrender‘ has an anthemic chorus that will be sung back to Nitrate by the crowd at every concert. ‘Heartbreak Suicide‘ shows the tightness of the group as each instrument complements the others creating a layer of sound that gives Lindstrand’s vocals a solid base. Musically, it is my favourite track on the album as it’s sound is so brilliantly put together.

In the Night‘ is another gorgeous ballad with a brilliant vocal performance that puts me in mind of the superb Joey Tempest. ‘Bad Girls‘ has a Whitesnake vibe to it from the title and lyrics to the guitar work and it’s a good fun track that will be another live favourite.

Shot In The Dark‘ is a song with Thurston’s great guitar work and Newdeck’s drums once more to the fore as they drive the song along. The final track ‘Waiting On You‘ ends the album on a high quality song that seems to draw together a number of their influences to great effect. Along with ‘Heartbreak Suicide‘ it is arguably the best encapsulation of the Nitrate sound and finishes a strong set of 11 tracks with real style.

Although Nitrate have not strayed beyond the template of their excellent first album, they have developed their sound, and proved beyond doubt that they are the rightful inheritors of the 80s rock mantle.



ROCKETT LOVE was founded in 2015 by singer Daniel Samuelsson and guitarist Stefan Westerlund. Fueled by mutual interest in 80’s melodic rock, the two began recording original material in Daniel’s home studio. With only one song on iTunes and Spotify and absolutely no commercial back-up they received a lot of radio time and a fully packed venue when playing their debut gig. The song ‘Rocket Love‘ took off with a big viral spin when Beau Hill picked-up the track at his studio and produced it.

A year of writing and recording went by and in 2017 ROCKETT LOVE finally released the full-length debut ‘Grab the Rocket‘ on AOR Heaven.

In the following time, they set up their own studio and named it Meganoise, and the recordings began in early 2018. The duo needed to cut down the material from twenty something to 11 songs. When the recordings were finished, the Swedes sent the material to Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE, WET) to mix it.

ROCKETT LOVE now returns with ‘Greetings from Rocketland‘ on August 30th,  2019. The band’s second album contains 11 new tracks including the highlights ‘King For One Day‘, ‘Back On My Feet‘ and the power ballad ‘Take Me Home‘.

Soundfiles in advance:

Back On My Feet Again (Edit)

Bite The Bullet (Edit)

I Want Out (Edit)

Stefan Westerlund comments: “This time the songs are for real, no compromises. Erik has done a fantastic job and we feel strongly about the album and what he did to the material. Now it’s up to the listeners to take it to their hearts. ‘Greetings From Rocketland‘ is a classic record full of great and melodic rock songs.

Official Website

Nitrate is back bigger & better with their second album ‘Open Wide’ following on from their successful and highly rated debut ‘Realworld’ from 2018. The album will bre released on June 21st, 2019 on AOR Heaven.

Inspired by the late 80’s rock scene with bands such as Def Leppard, Europe, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi, Nitrate is the brainchild of song writer Nick Hogg (bass guitar/keyboards).
Once again, Rob Wylde (Midnite City/ Tigertailz/ Teenage Casket Company) co-wrote, produced the album and played rhythm guitar. Back on drums & mixing is Pete Newdeck  (Midnite City, Eden’s Curse, Blood Red Saints, Newman). New to Nitrate are Marcus Thurston (Vega) who  took over lead guitar duties and on lead vocals and, all the way from Sweden, Philip Lindstrand (Find Me, East Temple Avenue, Strong). The mastering was once again handled by Harry Hess (Harem Scarem).

Nitrate’s follow up album packs more punch than the first, with a more edgier, in your face feel complete with 10 hard hitting Hair Metal/AOR/Melodic Rock tracks with all out hooks and big backing vocals.

Line up:

Nick Hogg – Bass Guitar & Keyboards

Rob Wylde – Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards, Backing vocals

Philip Lindstrand – Lead & Backing Vocals

Pete Newdeck – Drums & Backing vocals

Marcus Thurston – Lead Guitar

Produced by Rob Wylde; Mixed by Pete Newdeck; Mastered by Harry Hess ; Engineered by Leon Bailey & Pete Newdeck

Soundfiles in advance:

Night Time City (Edit)

Only A Heartache Away (Edit)

You Want It You Got It (Edit)



Rob Moratti is a genuine and true original. With an astonishing range, he’s carved such a unique style blending the finest elements of melodic and progressive rock. ‘Renaissance‘ will be released on June 21st, 2019 and marks his first release on AOR Heaven.

He started his career professionally in the early 90’s as lead vocalist and songwriter of the band Moratti; entering the new millennium with Final Frontier. They immediately were well received making an impact on the airwaves of Japan and in Europe. Rob’s future went forward with Final Frontier, soaring out four incredible melodic pieces.
Over the years in spite of all the changes in the music scene, Rob’s perseverance and passion stood strong. His fate is so undeniable it captured the attention of multi-platinum selling and legendary progressive rock band Saga. In 2008 the official announcement was made that Rob Moratti would become the new voice of Saga and at the age of 42 Rob’s destiny would evolve.

Today his solo career has taken off quite well. Now in 2019, the singer is about to deliver his strongest solo record ever titled ‘Renaissance‘ which marks his first release with AOR Heaven. When it comes to songs, melodies, harmonies and range – as many know – Rob Moratti is in a league of his own.
The songs on ‘Renaissance‘ are astonishing as ever. Filled with his trademark harmonies and memorable chorus’s that will capture the listener and engrave your soul. Working alongside with some the best songwriters and performers in the genre such as Torben Enevoldsen on guitars, Fredrik Bergh on keyboards, Stu Reid on drums and Tony Franklin on the Monster Bass.

Soundfiles in advance:

Let Me Be The One (Edit)

Lift You Up (Edit)

You Are The One (Edit)

Official Website

TRISHULA have released an Official video for the track ‘I Can See It In Your Eyes‘.

The song ‘I Can See It In Your Eyes‘ taken from the album ‘Scared To Breathe‘, which was released on March 23rd, 2019 via AOR Heaven.

Track listing:

1. I Can See It In Your Eyes

2. Scared To Breathe

3. A Thousand Pieces

4. Secrets & Lies

5. I Never Cried

6. Homeland

7. Don’t Let Go

8. A Love So Cruel

9. Magnetic Memories

10. Jealousy

11. For A Friend (Instrumental)

Official Website