There’s a new record from TNT frontman Tony Harnell (pictured) and his Mercury Train plus the prog-rock tinged supergroup YOSO.
Renowned vocalist Jorn unveils his Dio tribute and Terra Nova deliver what we believe is on of the most polished albums you’ll hear all years.
And there’s the new solo record from Europe guitarist John Norum.
If you’ve been keeping track of post-reformation Europe then you’ll know the band who brought us The Final Countdown is more about blues rock than hair metal these days.
And this polished solo record from the man behind the Swedes’ best riffs develops that sound further – suggesting Norum is still somewhat constrained by his day job. If this is what he needs to let off steam then all power to his elbow. And to those fingers which glide across the fretboard like a surfer on the crest of an Atlantic breaker.
The dubious Ditch Queen is the only dud track here but otherwise it’s full throttle blues rock in the vein of early Whitesnake. There’s obvious Thin Lizzy-inspired reference points and Norum still throws in the odd gargantuan solo more suited to Europe’s commercial peak – but when you’re this good that’s your right and your prerogative.
Got My Eyes On You and When Darkness Falls are gold carat classics and if you don’t buy this album then download these. If you like Coverdale, Bonamassa, Gary Moore or latter day Europe this will tick almost every box. An artistic triumph.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Norum Deal
This should be one of the best records you’ll hear all year as members of Toto and Yes pool their considerable talents to put together a prog-tinged melodic rock supergroup. In fact it’s a little disappointing.
As expected there’s a level of professionalism and production underpinning this two-CD pack – but it’s the live work which stands out. Where the studio output lacks any sense of emotion, the live versions of YOSO originals and various Yes/Toto classics are typically uplifting. Hold The Line, in particular, is delivered with genuine feeling.
When so-called super groups come together the expectation is understandably high. But whereas a band like Chickenfoot has unearthed an obvious creative spark YOSO seem to play music – albeit very complicated music – by numbers. Path To Your Heart and Walk Away are undeniably good songs but they won’t have you weeping in the aisles.
rushonrock rated: 5/10 YONO
Conceived, written and produced before Ronnie James passed away, this was meant to be the perfect tribute to a living legend. That Dio passed away just weeks before this incredibly moving record was due for release is as sad as it is ironic. But if you can get past the sense of loss then Jorn Lande’s covers album is the perfect antidote to any longstanding grief.
Mixing standout classics – Don’t Talk To Strangers and Straight Through The Heart – with lesser known tunes from the Dio back catalogue there’s an obvious sense of respect and admiration for one of the finest frontmen in rock and metal history. Jorn has the pipes to pull them all off and does so with style. Watching him hit the stage at High Voltage with Tony Iommi this moth will be very special indeed.
Don’t write this off as just another covers album and don’t for one minute dismiss it as a record cashing in on the natural resurgence of interest in Dio. It’s something more than that and the perfect vehicle for Jorn – a musician as vital to the long term success of hard rock as his diminutive mentor.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Jorn Again
So it seems the Dutch are good at more than football. Here the Hendrix (and with a name like that how can they fail?) brothers pull out all the stops to deliver an album straight out of the mid 80s and all the better for it.
It’s more than a decade since the band responsible for three classic AOR records suddenly split and back then it looked like the end for Terra Nova. Thankfully our friends at Frontiers persuaded the Hendrix bros. to give this classy outfit another crack and the result is joyous singalong summer anthems like Holy Grail and uber ballads in the shape of Those Eyes – two of the standout tracks on the follow-up to 2005’s comeback album Escape.
Never short of a cult following in the Far East it would be only fair if Terra Nova finally found a mainstream audience closer to home and these Dutch heroes might have released the album to do just that.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Terra Vision
If anyone remembers Bon Jovi’s This Left Feels Right then this is the Tony Harnell take on revisiting old standards and giving them a fresh twist.
Taking tracks from throughout his career fronting TNT, Westworld and Starbreaker, the accomplished vocalist strips them down, turns them around and creates a record which really boasts the wow factor.
Harnell has always had the power to tug at the heart strings with his vast range and emotive delivery but the decision to breathe new life into a powerful back catalogue proves once and for all that he deserves his place among rock’s royalty.
The Bon Jovi reference is never more apt than on the inspiring Intuition but Harnell doesn’t allow Road Trip to get stuck in a rut. Shame features subtle, electrified blues rock tones and the complementary vocals of Sandi Saraya while the upbeat When I’m Away is countryfied pop rock at its easy listening best.
A bold statement from a talented individual.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Trip Of A Lifetime