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Music Reviews: Johan Randen, Hartmann, Driver, Bangalore Choir, Fate, Luley, and Alfonzetti

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Well, this week I have decided to review only stuff on discs as they are cluttering up the place. Not that music is bad mind you, but still.

First we start out with something exceedingly mellow, but well worth your time. Guitarist Johan Randén has a great release in the form of Summary which, while not being very heavy, has a lot of character and passion.

Former At Vance frontman Oliver Hartmann is back with another collection of rock with his namesake band. It is called Balance and is the band’s normal quality fare. He even manages to pull off a decent cover of Tears for Fears “Shout”. The guy has got a great voice and a stellar band, so consistency is what you get in spades.

Driver is the creation of Rob Rock, a journeyman vocalist, and Roy Z, who is famous for his work with Bruce Dickinson’s solo material and Tribe of Gypsies. Needless to say, this potent combination produces a distinctly American-sounding version of power metal-tinged AOR. Whatever Countdown‘s music is called, this is good stuff that improves with each listen. It is no surprise the Euro-metal festival circuit love these guys.

Bangalore Choir have always been underrated and underappreciated and this release will further emphasize those errors. Metaphor is a quality AOR album that will be hard for any band to top. It hits all the right notes every time. The perfect music for top-down motoring this summer. It is catchy, with choruses that scream to be sung along to. What else do you need?

Fate produce a keyboard-laden, very Scandinavian sound of hard rock which makes sense as they are from Denmark. Ghosts from the Past is their latest effort, but the band have been around in one form or another since the ’80s. Scandi-rock done right can be a charming breath of fresh air. You can have a far worse fate than listening to this album, for sure.

Luley is the latest band from former Craaft and Tokyo mainstay Klaus Luley. Not surprisingly, Today’s Tomorrow sounds quite a bit like a combination of both of those bands. There is a touch of pre-soul Michael Bolton, and no, that is not meant as a criticism. A bit too light for some hard rock/AOR fans, but with just enough oomph to keep it interesting. And there is no denying the catchy choruses.

Alfonzetti is two-man band fronted by a man of the same name, Matti Alfonzetti (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard), from Sweden. Their latest release is called Here Comes the Night and it is more of the same sort of decent Scandi-rock you would expect from the man. This is quality stuff that is consistent and great fun. Mr. Big come to mind most often when listening to this release.

Well, that’s the lot of them. As always, keep rocking and stay safe as you go about your travels.

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