Circle II Circle - Seasons Will Fall 2013

If you are thirty years old or so, most likely the band name Savatage will still has some memories for you. The legendary progressive hair metal band was then sing by Jon Oliva, before interrupted by their second singer that form unique part of their history. He was Zachary ‘Zak’ Stevens. His contribution in Savatage lead the band into distinguished era. Zak then left Savatage and formed Circle II Circle in 2001. In the beginning, Circle II Circle sounds like a twin project to Savatage. But soon they progressive forward and fill the void Savatage left for. Circle II Circle cycled out six albums now, counting today’s 2013 released titled Seasons Will Fall. Will the man able to matched his past on this album, we shall cross finger tight. As Seasons Will Fall is a lighter melodic metal work, that I even don’t think it is need a progressive metal label on it.

Diamond Blade started with bombastic riff and drumming, as Zak Stevens delivered his line, a catchy riff leading side by side. Cool, and this give us a reason to praise the team for well manage on the opening moment. Without A Sound got a nice guitar chops along with rather ‘80s glam metal groove. Those looking for Savatage sounds can listen to Epiphany, an eight minutes composition with piano of something Trans Siberian Orchestra notes there. The guitar riff still got extra bullets in Dreams That Never Die as to open another Savatage-like song. The album title track Seasons Will Fall however not acting as the pan ultimate song, but rather hanging there just to bridge Dreams That Never Die to Never Gonna Stop. The later is more straight forward classic heavy metal riff driven song. Then it all tune down in the rest of album, with two ballads hanging there, Sweet Despair and Only Yesterday. Enjoyable ending with a nice late ’80 chordal guitar, and piano ballad in Only Yesterday.

We got a nice guitar works in this album. Riff are screaming hard, solos are precise and melodious. Zak’s vocals however, sounds mostly low pitches that quite didn’t reach the climax in some important moments. But when clicks, as in Only Yesterday, the higher notes sounds extremely killer in Zak’s voice. My favourite tracks are Diamond Blade and Only Yesterday, for those enjoy melodic Savatage album, come and get Seasons Will Fall for sure.

Metal Harem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall 2013
Buy it here

01. Diamond Blade
02. Without A Sound
03. Killing Death
04. Epiphany
05. End Of Emotion
06. Dreams That Never Die
07. Seasons Will Fall
08. Never Gonna Stop
09. Isolation
10. Sweet Despair
11. Downshot
12. Only Yesterday

Zak Stevens Vocals
Paul Michael Stewart Bass, Keyboards
Andrew Lee Guitars
Jayson Moore Drums


Pink Cream 69 - Ceremonial 2013

Although we have the last Pink Cream 69 album say about six years ago, but actually we got their ‘variant’ along this years. Those side projects by Dennis Ward, also Uwe and Kosta, in Unisonic, Place Vendome, Sunstorm and others are considerable Pink Cream’s variations for its AoR and hard rock style in those bands. Definitely this lead us to expect something special from Dennis for his home band. The second busiest guys in the band is lead singer David Readman. He was neo classical metal singer in Adagio, but his current project was in Voodoo Circle. Ceremonials, as stated by Dennis himself, is a celebration of many styles that each band experiences over that hiatus years. This is also the first album to feature new member Chris Schmidt replacing Kosta Zafiriou. Chris, also worked together in Joe Lynn Turner’s Emotional Fire album from Sunstorm. Ceremonial still play around the AOR sounds with trademark power choruses in the same vibes as their previous works displayed.

After the opening track Land of Confusion which ethnical ceremonial rhythm composition, we got Wasted Years and Special, two truly AOR spirit tracks. Wasted Years is a crispy guitar riff with dictating bass line , a 1/16 hihat dancing to support this catchy tune. Special gone a little minor feel melodic intro, again replied by groovy bass line by Dennis. Jump to the middle of album we got hard rocker, Welcome to the Jungle riff in Big Machine. I Come to Rock is naturally our next point of interest based on the title alone. The variety of modern rock tunes is display in The Tide, a normal and standard AOR formula that can recycled thousand times by PC69 to make us feeling ‘80s. They can go as ‘alternative’ as in Right From Wrong. They also inserted Passage Of Time a ballad with a nice guitar work as accompanying.

We still got the Pink Cream 69 that goose bumps us with their melanchony AOR stuff. Plus a half of creative improvisation on rather modern stuff as well. The quintet need no praising of their musical skills. Many notes are exactly executed as demand by the song’s composition, thus making the melody line become more sweet, more vintages. Dennis Ward works in Pink Cream didn’t affected by his busy outside jobs. Instead we can be guaranteed he still got enough melody for his own kitchen. Pleasing album with spiritual AOR inside, especially Wasted Years and Special in the beginning of the album. Trivially, ex PC69 singer Andi Derris also released his outcome via Helloween's Straight Out of Hell just a week prior.

Metal Harem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Pink Cream 69 – Ceremonial 2013
Buy it here

1. Land Of Confusion (4:41)
2. Wasted Years (3:56)
3. Special (4:03)
4. Find Your Soul (3:43)
5. The Tide (4:15)
6. Big Machine (4:02)
7. Let The Thunder Roll (3:40)
8. Right From Wrong (3:35)
9. Passage Of Time (4:29)
10. I Came To Rock (4:32)
11. King For One Day (4:08)
12. Superman (4:35)

David Readman - Vocals
Alfred Koffler - Guitars
Uwe Reitenauer - Guitars
Dennis Ward - Bass
Chris Schmidt - Drums


Voivod Target Earth 2013

Voivod is one of my most mysterious experiences. Largely in my mind, they were just a punkcore band from the ’80 that happen to have more artistic elements in their music. Evolving grunge in the ’90 and avant-garde movement in the 2000s seems no futuristic compare to Voivod’s craziness decades ago. They can go straight as in the album The Outer Limits, which is my favourite, and go weird with all the twisted riffs.  I never really dig into their music, but I admit their music is potentially to drag me into the genre. Short story here, Voivod’s legacy is now on continuation. Although, not with late guitarist Piggy (Denis D’amour), which was the band’s creative working motherboard. They released album Target Earth in 2013, with all three founding member present plus a new guitarist name Chewy (Daniel Mongrain). The band done the best thing in recruiting Chewy and he sounds exactly as Piggy’s identical twin in this recording.

Songs that potentially beloved by long time Voivod band should be Target Earth, their first track, then Mechanical Mind, Resistance and Kaleidos. All a fast tempo tunes completed with original Voivod riffs and bass lines. In Kluskap O’Kom we have a very good groove punkcore tunes, reminder of Denis Belanger distinguish voices. Or if you miss Blacky the bassist,  the melancholy Warchaic may pleased you.

If you are Voivod fans, this is a 2013 legacy that can remind you on this veteran band. Most significant achievement in this album is Voivod able to stay true to their sounds. Three founding member and extra ordinary replacement is a successful formation in achieving that. The album mood comes wild and darker that a decades ago. Not a best way to introduce new listener to Voivod, but this album intended to show their loyal fans how the rest of band is working hard to keep the legacy alive.

Metal Harem Class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Voivod Target Earth 2013
Buy the album HERE

1. "Target Earth" - 6:04
2. "Kluskap O'Kom" - 4:24
3. "Empathy for the Enemy" - 5:46
4. "Mechanical Mind" - 7:35
5. "Warchaic" - 7:01
6. "Resistance" - 6:45
7. "Kaleidos" - 6:27
8. "Corps Étranger" - 4:35
9. "Artefact" - 6:26
10. "Defiance" - 1:32

Official Youtube Video of Target Earth Voivod

• Denis Bélanger (Snake) – vocals
• Daniel Mongrain (Chewy) – guitar
• Jean-Yves Thériault (Blacky) – bass
• Michel Langevin (Away) – drums

Line Art graphic design for cover artwork


Nightfall Cassiopeia 2013

If you haven’t meet a Gothic Metal band that able to upfront their “metal” part more than anything to its “gothic” counterpart, you need to listen to Nightfall. They kind of melodic blending into dark, doomish gothic growling. They are Greek compatriot, long established since 1991 by founding member Efthimis Karadimas . With that long history, Nightfall crossed fate with several Greek talents such as Bob Katsionis as we known in Firewind today. As you can see from my writing, I am not familiar with the band and therefore rely my review on this sole album only.  For our 2013 late new year gift, Nightfall released Cassiopeia. Notes to this release also included the addition of guitarist Constantine into their line up, Constantine is current guitarist for Mystic Prophecy as well.

In the opener called Phaethon, we quickly introduced to a straightforward and minimalist gothic licks that leading us into a sudden changes of key for the opening verse. For the following song that almost identical twin as Phaethon is Oberon and Titania. The band also put in front Oberon and Titania as their representative showcase track of Cassiopeia. It is a riff leading song, with enough groove to let the melody stay in your mind for a while. The same receipt repeated in other tracks, notable is The Reptile Gods, and Hyperion which all based their opening to the thematic riff. We also get the power metal’s minor and galloping tempo in Stellar Parallax and Hubris. The other approach is the classic Gothic melodic lick as the leading tune, practised in The Nightwatch and Akhenaton, the 8th Pharaoh of the 18 Dynasty. That’s true Cassiopeia rich in mythological references as their lyrical theme, suitable to the music very much.

In the microphone duty is vocalist Efthimis Karadimas, our fifty minutes long companion that comes with a  low and dark doom-ish voice. The whole album demonstrated a solid chemistry between the duo guitarist Evan Hensley and Constantine, both take turn in converting minimalist licks into powerful harmony. That’s to say, the overall listening experience from Cassiopeia is enjoyable. This Gothic / Doom metal genre tends to gone monotonous in my experience, but Cassiopeia really gives enough tricks to cast away that repetitive feature and make the album an interesting darkened melodic metal journey. If you are into the genre, this should be enough to be called an excellent album.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Nightfall – Cassiopeia 2013
Buy it here

01. Phaethon
02. Oberon & Titania
03. Colonize Cultures
04. The Nightwatch
05. Stellar Parallax
06. Hubris
07. The Reptile Gods
08. Hyperion
09. Akhenaton, The 9th Pharaoh Of The 18th Dynasty
10. The Sand Reckoner
11. Astropolis

Efthimis Karadimas - Vocals
Evan Hensley - Guitar
Constantine - Guitar
Stathis Ridis - Bass
Stathis Kassios - Keyboards
Jörg Uken - Drums


Helloween - Straight Out of Hell 2013

Straight Out of Hell is our first major release of 2013. It come with great spirit and the moments is nice. The Helloween guys keep the news updated since the beginning of the new year via their Facebook page with track per track commentaries. The album’s overall vibes return to 7 Sinners sounds with combination of classic high pitch Helloween and modern symphonic metal orchestration.

As the first song, it’s a single Nabataea. Here Helloween comes with their most different concept of song, lyrically. It is a historical theme about Nabataea, an historical kingdom that is now a city of Petra in Jordania. A story lies on its exotic epic, about being a community that hidden from landscapes and only re-discovered in the dawn of 20th century. Helloween also gears up to more symphonic elements as, all with its middle eastern grooves and scales. Nabatea is also a song with complex structure, that remind of Helloween’s classic as epic in Keeper of Seven Keys and Halloween.

In contrast to Nabatea’s peaceful theme, is World of War. It’s a full double pedal and fast riff stuff, with a reminiscent of The Time of the Oath especially song Mission Motherland in its choruses. Markus done a tasty bass solo and then the guitar solos comes in in great inspiration.

Live Now! Is unusual for its hard rock and wah-wah guitar riff. According to commentary by Derris, it is pop-metal feel and left out from previous album for it was unsuited to them. Guitarist Sascha Gerstner need to make it more heavy and Helloween-ish , then it fits perfectly in this album. It is a quick verse jump to chorus structure, something not usual in Helloween's formula. Live Now! is probably going to be one of easily memorize riff for its unique.

Far From the Stars and Burning Sun reflected back to basic Helloween sounds, intensely build up verse with chorus orientated. Burning Sun also come with its Hammond organ version and I prefer to this version for its interesting organ accent among all the heavy tracks. The introduction guitar riff that mimic by Hammond Organ will ease the ear familiarization process for this song. According to Weikath, Burning Sun was written during his shower time, and he need to rush turn on the computer just to record it before “…its gone by the water” – Grosskopf.

Waiting for the Thunder is by far the most “generic” power metal song. It been composed in a drunk mode and got a piano accompanying stuff. Hold Me in Your Arms is a ballad, aims for larger market and Helloween's attempt to remind the world with, ehem, Windmill and Forever and One. Andi Derris stated the song is unlikely to him for its low key, and briefly said it might be the first song that performed in up transposed key , indicated that they already did a lowering transposing song perhaps. Wanna Be Good is a good ice breaking moment. It is a “We Will Rock You” inspired. Andi Derris and friends do the vocal harmonization with only drumming as background music, through half way before all band join in. Asshole as the title indicated is badass song, heavy and fast. Sascha’s riff dictated the whole song and for a moment the mood set into more heavy metal than others. The backing vocal that usage of pop-effect make a humorous element in this song. Before that, we got the title track Straight Out of Hell. It is a Helloween sounds in the whole song and good reminder of Grosskopf song writing style. Years is even close to the Time of the Oath era, mainly for the melodic orchestration and happy chorus.

Make Fire Catch the Fly is another love theme song. Its heavy and devilish with that half step riff and Derris’ lower voice explorations. And we come to the closing chapter with another point of interest, Gregorian-chant influence Church Break Down. A solemn chanting intro break down with blasting drum leading to the fast speed double pedal song. Bonus track is Another Shot of Life.

I impressed with this album for their new exploration of music that still very Helloween-ish. Not an easy thing to do as they already working for thirty years or so. Another aspect went well is their guitar solos, are well composed and melodic. The arrival of this album reminds me of the excitement I got when I listen to The Time of the Oaths back in late ’90. After all the absence of Helloween sound from Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon, The Time of the Oaths was the waiting time over at the time. (Master of the Ring came out late in Indonesia during that time). Back to Straight Out of Hell, the cover album looks fresh in style, the digital Mr. Pumpkins in war uniform and the photograph looks great. A Helloween's released that will surely become another classic recording in the future. It's set the shuttlecock high for this year and a perfect moment for Helloween fans to say, "...bet you can't bet this!". Bravo for the producer in charge Charlie Bauerfeind as well.

My favourite tracks:
Best Songs: Nabatea, Burning Sun Hammond version, and Church Break Down.
Best Guitars Solos: Burning Sun
Best Bass Line: Burning Sun, Asshole
Best Drumming: Nabatea, Church Break Down
Best Vocals: Make Fire Catch the Fly
Best Lyric: Nabatea, War Of the World, Hold Me In Your Arms
Best Riff: Burning Sun, Live Now!
Helloween's Classics: World of World
Best Orchestration: Years, Nabatea

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Helloween - Straight Out Of Hell 2013
buy it here NOW

1."Nabatea"  Deris 7:03
2."World of War" Gerstner 4:56
3."Live Now!"  Deris 3:10
4."Far From the Stars" Grosskopf 4:41
5."Burning Sun"  Weikath 5:33
6."Waiting for the Thunder"  Deris 3:53
7."Hold Me in Your Arms" Gerstner 5:10
8."Wanna Be God"   Deris 2:02
9."Straight Out of Hell" Grosskopf 4:33
10."Asshole" Gerstner 4:09
11."Years"  Weikath 4:22
12."Make Fire Catch the Fly" Deris 4:22
13."Church Breaks Down"  Deris 6:06
14.”Another Shot of Life” Grosskopf Bonus Track
15.”Burning Sun Hammond Organ version”
16.”No Eternity”

since 1978-Markus Grosskopf - bass
since 1983-Michael Weikath - guitars
since 1994-Andi Deris - vocals
since 2002-Sascha Gerstner - guitars
since 2005-Daniel Löble - drums


List of Metal and Hard Rock Albums of the Year 2012

Here we go, the list of notable Metal and Hard Rock album from year 2012. These are about 150+ albums that need to get your listening consideration. Of course this is merely a list of my collection and the order of "ranking" only reflect my taste and favoritism.You can read Metal Harem's review of all albums in this blog.

2012 Hard Rock Albums of the Year
with AoR, Progressive Rock, Glam Metal all in one group. Rush's Clockwork Angel was still by far superior in their composition. Many oldies late '80 glam metal bands coming out with their reunion, such as Trixter, Tyketto, L.A. Guns, even KISS and Van Halen are releasing new materials. Here the list 30 Hard Rock / Progressive Rock / AOR /Glam Metal album of the year 2012:

1 Rush - Clockwork Angels
2 Flying Colors - Flying Colors
3 Asia - XXX
4 Black Country Communion - Afterglow
5 Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth
6 U.F.O - Seven Deadly
7 Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Lost In the New Real
8 Lana Lang - El Dorado Hotel
9 Tyketto - Dig In Deep
10 Europe - Bag of Bones
11 L.A. Guns - Hollywood Forever
12 Aerosmith - Music From Another Dimension
13 Unisonic - Unisonic
14 Sunstorm - Emotional Fire
15 Trixter - New Audio Machine
16 KISS - Monster
17 Slash - Apocalyptic Love
18 P.O.D. - Murdered Love
19 Frank Hannon - Six String Soldiers
20 Great White - Elation
21 Dokken - Broken Bones
22 Jeff Scott Soto - Damage Control
23 Jack Blades - Rock 'n Roll Ride
24 Lynyrd Skynyrd - Last of a Dyin' Breed
25 Hartmann - Balance
26 Lita Ford - Living Like A Runaway
27 Little Caesar - American Dream
28 Pete Lesperance - Fade into stars
29 Gun - Breaking the Silence
30 Paul Gilbert - Vibrato
30 Hardline - Danger Zone

2012 Metal Albums of the Year
Top 50 2012 Heavy Metal Albums
Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Gothic Metal, Metalcore , Melodic Metal in this group.

1 Accept – Stalingrad
2 Overkill - The Electric Age
3 Rage – 21
4 Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
5 Kill Devil Hill - Kill Devil Hill
6 3 Inches Of Blood - Long Live Heavy Metal
7 Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol
8 Herman Frank – Right in the Guts
9 Kreator - Phantom Antichrist
10 Tourniquet – Antiseptic Bloodbath
11 Razorwyre - Another Dimension
12 Shadows Fall – Fire From Sky
13 Pharaoh - Bury The Light
14 Striker - Armed to the Teeth
15 Whitechapel – 2012
16 Nightmare - The Burden of God
17 Phenomena - Awakening
18 Driver – Countdown
19 Axehammer - Marching On
20 Lilian Axe - XI The Days Before Tomorrow
21 Fatal Force – Unholy Rites
22 Lamb of God - Resolution
23 Axel Rudi Pell - Circle Of The Oath
24 Demon Hunter - True Defiance
25 Tommy Vitaly - Hanging Rock
26 Loudness - 2012
27 Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme
28 Moonspell - Alpha Noir - Omega White
29 Animetal USA – W
30 Ihsahn - Eremita
31 Jorn - Bring Heavy Rock To The Land
32 Grave Digger - Clash Of the Gods
33 Titan's Eve - Life Apocalypse
34 For All Eternity - Beyond the Gates
35 Steelwing - Zone of Alienation
36 Savage – Sons of malice
37 Biohazard - Reborn in Defiance
38 Warnot - His Blood Is Yours
39 As I Lay Dying - Awakened
40 My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
41 Saturnus - Saturn In Ascension
42 Custard - Infested by Anger
43 Doro - Raise Your Fist
44 Flotsam and Jetsom - Ugly Noise
45 Empyrean Sky - Extending the Tangent
46 Blaze Bayley - The King Of Metal
47 Steve Harris - British Lion
48 Crucified Barbara - The Midnight Chase
49 Crow7 - Symphony of Souls
50 Hysterica - Art of Metal

2012 Power Metal Albums of the Year
Top 50 Power Metal albums, combined with Symphonic Metal, Neo Classical Metal, Folk Metal, and Gothic Female Singer
Luca Turilli proved he is not kidding with all the Rhapsody of Fire franchise, Ascending to Infinity is a landmark power metal album of 2012. DragonForce come with new singer, as well Xandria that surprise us with their new direction of music in symphonic metal.

1 Luca Turilli - Ascending to Infinity
2 DragonForce - The Power Within
3 Xandria - Neverworld's End
4 Kamelot – Silverthorn
5 Primal Fear – Unbreakable
6 Golden Resurrection - One Voice For The Kingdom
7 Sabaton - Carolus Rex
8 Galneryus - Angel of Salvation
9 Vision Divine - Destination Set To Nowhere
10 Firewind – Few Against Many
11 Seven Kingdoms - The Fire Is Mine
12 Secret Sphere - Portrait of a Dying Heart
13 Reinxeed - Welcome To The Theater
14 Kerion - Cloud Riders Part 1 Road to Skycity
15 Therion - Les Fleurs Du Mal
16 Soulspell - Hollow's Gathering
17 Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name
18 Freedom Call - Land of the Crimson
19 Wardrum – Desolation
20 Wind Rose - Shadows Over Lothadruin
21 Thy Majestie – ShiHuangDi
22 Amberian Dawn - Circus Black
23 Dawn Of Destiny - Praying To The World
24 Epica – Requeim For The Indifferent
25 Gaia Epicus – Dark Secrets
26 Wintersun - Time
27 Winter’s Verge – Beyond Vengeance
28 Mob Rules - Cannibal Nation
29 Dragony – Legends
30 Ensiferum - Unsung Heroes
31 Dark Tribe - Mysticeti Victoria
32 Andre Matos - The Turn of the Lights
33 Dark Empire - From Refuge to Ruin
34 Orden Ogan - To The End
35 Fullforce – Next Level
36 Iron Fire - Voyage of the Damned
37 Drakkar - When Lightning Strikes
38 Elvenking - Era
39 Winterstorm - Kings Will Fall
40 Pathfinder - Fifth Elements
41 Holy Knights - Between Daylight and Pain
42 Obsession – Order of Chaos
43 Scelerata - The Sniper
44 Manowar - The Lord of Steel
45 Yngwie Malmsteen - Spellbound
46 Destination's Calling - End Of Time
47 Heaven Rain - Second Sun
48 Tacere - At World's End
49 Delain - We Are The Others
50 Magica - Center of the Great Unknown
50 Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline

2012 Progressive Metal Albums of the Year
Top 10 Prog Metal Albums

1 Affector – Harmagedon , [buy]
2 Neal Morse – Momentum
3 Docker’s Guild – The Mystic Technocracy Season 1 The Age of Ignorance
4 Circus Maximus – Nine
5 German Pascual – A New Beginning
6 Adrenaline Mob - Omerta
7 Dreamscape - Everlight
8 Threshold - March of Progress
9 Cloudscape - New Era
10 Book Of Reflections - Relentless Fighter

see the top Guitar and Instrumental Shred Album of year 2012 as well here

Favorite Shred Instrumental Album of 2012


Favorite Shred Instrumental Album of 2012

Year 2012 passes away with tremendous input of guitar shred album. Here I compiled my most enjoyable and recommended shred album of 2012. From commercially success giants such as Steve Vai, hard rock legend Neil Schon, comes two extra ordinary albums. I am also pleased to find out talents such as Robert Rodrigo and Chris Bickley, among the well knowns, Kiko Loureiro, Jeff Loomis and Joe Stump alike. Don’t take the list as something serious, this is just merely a list of my collections. There must be millions interesting album out there as well.

0. Steve Vai - The Story Of Light (Hard Rock, World Music, etc.)

0. Neal Schon - The Calling (Hard Rock, Soft Jazz, Fusion, AOR)
ReviewBuy it Here

1. Kiko Loureiro - Sounds of Innocence (Metal , Latin)
ReviewBuy it Here

2. Daniele Liverani - Eleven Mysteries (Neo Classical)
ReviewBuy It Here

3. Bob Katsionis - Rest in Keys (Metal, Progressive, Keyboard Shred)
ReviewBuy It Here

4. Marco Sfogli - reMarcoble (Metal, Progressive)
Review – Buy It Here

5. Joe Stump - Revenge of the Shredlord (Neo Classical)       
ReviewBuy It Here

6. Jeff Loomis - Plains of Oblivion (Metal, Progressive, Djent)

 7. Chris Bickley - Tapestry of Souls (Hard Rock, Metal)
ReviewBuy It Here

8. Robert Rodrigo - Wrath (Metal)
ReviewBuy it Here

9. Gretchan Menn – Hale Souls (Hard Rock, Soft Jazz)

10. Neil Zaza - Clyde the Cat (Hard Rock)
ReviewBuy it Here

I can keep go on as I discover new guitar instrumental album that released on year 2012. These are addition to the list that I only manage to write after I listen to the albums in 2013.

OHMPhrey – Posthaste (Progressive Rock) - Buy it Here
OHMphrey, a jam band supergroup, which features three members of the prog rock/veteran jam band Umphrey's McGee (keyboardist Joel Cummins, guitarist Jake Cinninger and drummer Kris Myers), and OHM guitarist (former Megadeth guitarist), Chris Poland along with bassist Robertino Pagliari (a.k.a. "Pag").

The Crane and Fabian Project – No Limit (Progressive Rock) - Buy it Here
Eric Marienthal (saxophones), Mike Miller (guitar), Steve Hunt (keys), Lance Crane (drums), Frank Gambale (guitar), James Hogan (guitar), Christian Fabian (bass) etc.

The Michael Landau Project – Organic Instrumentals (Jazz / Blues Rock) - Buy it Here

Greg Koch - Strats Got Your Tongue (2012) - Here something I missed, but strongly recommended for one of best instrumental hard rock/blues/jazz fusion guitar album of 2012. Not only the guitars, but the bass attack also clear and virtuoso on its own. Buy it HERE.

Mike Kerr - The Fire (2012) - One more awesome instrumental guitar album that I missed in 2012. Mike Kerr is Brazilian guitarist living in Boston. Apparently The Fire seems like his debut instrumental album.  Although at first this seem like a blast neo-classical shreds, as we listen to first track The Fire, but the album gone into many various styles. There is my favorite cuts in funk called Funkstein. There is also jazzy AOR feel sweet ballad in My Love. An exotic scale theme in Treasure of the East. It's an album worth of 13 instrumental tracks, plus two bonus backing minus one tracks. Mike Kerr status is 'unsigned' and by far seems not many review available on this album. He was on tour as far as to Whisky a Go Go as per July 2013. On this little review / notes I want to assured shred fans that The Fire is an awesome package, 50% of the album are in neo classical stuffs and the rest are mixed styles. Buy it HERE.


List of Helloween's Tribute / Cover Song by Other Band

With all the glory in power metal realm, a large portion of it can be credited to Helloween. Their trilogy, Jericho and the Keepers, are the albums that every power metal grow up with. It is understandable then, that almost all tracks from these album is a familiar piece to younger generation musician. Helloween songs are a canonical piece that every player need to learn and play. The creation of tribute album shouldn’t be difficult for us to find. Every now and then a Helloween cover song also inserted into many notable power metal album. The latest is in Rhapsody of Fire Luca Turilli camp, which cover March of Time in their most symphonic style.

At least there are three album that officially done this in a package. Keepers of Jericho part 1 and 2 is a year 2000s project done by many bands that are still in their sophomore year at that time, that turns out successful in our days. Sonata Arctica, Dark Moor, Vision Divine, Rhapsody (of Fire), Steel Attack, Axenstar etc all are faithfully done a notes by notes cover of Helloween. If you like something more improvised, listen to Heaven’s Gate cover of A Little Time.

Then, on the early 2010s, we got HelloRay, A Tribute to Helloween and Gamma Ray album.
Speaking of Gamma Ray, it is understandable they cover a lot of Kai Hansen own stuff. I Want Out and Victim of Fate from their live album Skeletons in the Closet and a few Future World in other live album. Then Roland Grapow and Michael Kiske also notable do their Helloween year material as well. The most official release, is from Helloween himself with UnArmed, a complete re-arrange of their material, and a spin off Michael Kiske's A Past in Different Ways, which is an acoustic version of his Helloween songs.

Helloween - UnArmed - 25th Anniversary

01. Dr. Stein
02. Future World
03. If I Could Fly
04. Where The Rain Grows
05. The Keeper's Trilogy
06. Eagle Fly Free
07. Perfect Gentleman
08. Forever & One
09. I Want Out
10. Fallen To Pieces
11. A Tale That Wasn't Right
12. Why

Michael Kiske - Past in Different Ways

01. You Always Walk Alone
02.  We Got The Right
03.  I Believe
04. Longing
05. Your Turn
06.  Kids Of The Century
07. In The Night
08. Going Home
09. A Little Time
10. When The Sinner
11.  Different Ways (new track)

Keepers of Jericho part 1 – A Tribute to Helloween
01. Rhapsody – Guardians
02. Sonata Arctica – I Want Out
03. Heavens Gate – A Little Time
04. Metalium – Ride the Sky
05. Luca Turilli – I’am Alive
06. Morifade – Judas
07. Vision Divine – Eagle Fly Free
08. Brainstorm – Savage
09. Labyritnth – Future World
10. Cydonia – Save Us
11. Squealer – Victim of Fate
12. Dark Moor – Halloween sings by Elisa Martin
13. Secret Sphere – How Many Tears

Keepers of Jericho part 2 – A Tribute to Helloween
01. Iron Savior – Phantoms of Death
02. Steel Attack – Dr. Stein
03. Powergod – Starlight
04. Celesty – The Chance
05. Beto Vasquez Infinity – A Tale That Wasn’t Right
06. Paragon – Metal Invader
07. Arwen – March of Time
08. Freternia – Murderer
09. Vhaldemar – Gorgar
10. Dragonland – Sole Survivor
11. Axenstar – Twilight of the Gods
12. Highlord – Power – also appear on their studio album When Aurora Falls
13. Red Wine – Rise and Fall

HelloRay – A Tribute to Helloween and Gamma Ray
01. Guardians of Mankind - Tribute to the Past (Gamma Ray Cover)
02. Gaia Epicus – Warrior
03. Parallax – The Spirit (Gamma Ray Cover)
04. Aillion – Mr.Torture
05. Opera Magna – Anywhere In The Galaxy (Gamma Ray Cover)
06. Kickhunter – Ain’t Got Nothin’ Better
07. Sonem – Last Before the Storm (Gamma Ray Cover)
08. Armory – Where the Rain Grows
09. Drachen – A Tale That Wasn’t Right
10. Rampart – Just A Little Sign
11. 5th Element – Judas
12. Rotten - Leaving Hell (Gamma Ray Cover)
13. Burn Universe – Heaven Or Hell (Gamma Ray Cover)
14. Ilungara – Before the War
15. Deimos – Land Of The Free (Gamma Ray Cover)

List of Helloween Cover Song done by notable bands:

HammerfallI Want Out – Single 1999 – Joachim Cans duet with Kai Hansen

Iron Savior - Phantom of Death, Gorgar, Metal Invader (bonus tracks) - Unification 1999

Shaman – Eagle Fly Free – RituAlive 2003 (Live) – Andi Derris and Michael Weikath quests

Freedom Call – Dr. Stein – Live Invasion 2004 (Live) and Dimensions Bonus Track

Gamma Ray – many , notable are:
I Want Out - Heading for the East 1999 (Live)
Victim of Fate and I Want Out - Skeletons in the Closet 2003 (Live)
a Medley of I Want Out/Future World/Ride the Sky in Power of Metal boxset and Lust for Live
Future World - ALive '95

Steel Prophet - Ride the Sky - Dark Hallucinations 1999

Stormwarrior - Heavy Metal (is The Law) - in Limited edition digipack bonus

Messenger - Dr. Stein - See You in Hell 2011

Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody of Fire – March of Time – Ascending to Infinity 2012

Unisonic – I Want Out - Ignition (EP) 2012 (Live) – Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen on board

Reinxeed - Halloween - Welcome to the Theater Bonus Track 2012

Quality Video on Youtube:

excellent video live performance from Stormwarrior playing Ride the Sky, featuring Kai Hansen on vocals!

Forever Storm - I Want Out

Other covers:
Ethernia - Future World
Alkemyst - Eagle Fly Free - album "Through Painful Lanes" 2008
Bassinvaders - Eagle Fly Free - in all bass instruments [Youtube] album "Hellbassbeaters"
Dreaming Hell - A Tale that Wasn't Right - Album Don't Be Afraid 2010
Nine Fears - Twilight of Gods - The Dreams in the Witch House (EP) 2007 [Youtube Official]
Seventh Seal - I'm Alive - album The Black Dragon's Eyes 2003
Sunrise - If I Could Fly - in single Dreamer Online 2005
Dream Master - Dr. Stein - album Dream Master 2005

The Eastern Tribute to Helloween (from Slovakia and Czech)
1. Crusader – Future World
2 Suffocate – Before The War
3 Cruel Barbarian – How Many Tears
4 Sonorous Reluctance – I Can
5 Salamandra – Judas
6 Definition – Victim Of Fate
7 Tristana – I Want Out
8 Halloweer – Heavy Metal (Is The Law) 
9 Unicorn - Eagle Fly Free (album "the 13th Sign" 2005)

Iron Maiden - Dr. Stein - listen Bruce Dickinson sings it! I can't find the related album for this, just a Youtube video (the video perhaps a fate, but the audio is real).

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