Allen/Lande

Eden’s Curse – Cardinal Review

Eden’s Curse – Cardinal Review

“Wait, come back! I know a quarter of you took one look at that lurid, mega-tacky cover and started to turn away in disgust, while another quarter started doing something worse (which results in hair growth in unsightly places). But before you judge this book based on its highly regrettable cover, hear me out. Eden’s Curse is a kind of low-rent “super group” of sorts that’s been puttering around the edges of metaldom since 2007, and despite the absence of household names they’ve managed to release some enjoyably melodic metal albums.” No one expects the Red Riding Hood Inquisition!

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle – Reign of Darkness Review

Circle II Circle keeps chugging along, tirelessly offering a stripped-down, threadbare reminder of what Zak Stevens era Savatage sounded like – just in case those albums get raptured away or something. This is their seventh album of mid-tempo metal with hard rock and AOR influences, and though the blueprint delivered some good moments (Watching in Silence, Burden of Truth), the past few outings felt increasingly watered down and bereft of inspiration, culminating in the dissipated lethargy of 2013s Seasons Will Fall.” With two spheres in the title, how can you go wrong?

Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes Review

Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes Review

“Here we have another project band from Frontiers Records which appears to be trying to duplicate the success of the Russell Allen and Jorn Lande pairings. Like those albums, the music here is written by Magnus Karlsson, this time with the help of his Primal Fear band mate, Mat Sinner, and as usual, it walks the line between melodic power metal and radio-ready hard rock. Essentially, this is Allen/Lande with Michael Kiske and Amada Somerville standing in. How you feel about that will depend on the extent of your love for the former Helloween golden boy and the erstwhile queen of symphonic metal backing vocals (Avantasia, Aina, et al).” Do you need to take things down a notch and relax? This might help.

Allen/Lande – The Great Divide Review

Allen/Lande – The Great Divide Review

“A talented singer can become, in the hands of a skilled songsmith, a powerful tool for artistic expression. In such a craftsman’s nimble fingers, powerful vocals can be woven and molded to create a truly sublime listening experience. Likewise, in the hands of a rank amateur, those same vocal gifts can become nothing but a hammer, and every song the nail.” When you learn who is responsible for crafting songs for these metal legends, you may fear a hammering in your immediate future.

Vanishing Point – Distant is the Sun Review

Vanishing Point – Distant is the Sun Review

“It seems I don’t get to review power metal all that much these days, though it was one of the reasons I was originally recruited by AMG in the first place (my official title was Assistant Chief Power Metal Weenie). Instead, it’s Rogga Johansson this, retro death metal that, yadda yadda yadda. Maybe that’s why it feels so refreshing to hear some genuinely solid power-prog from long running Aussie act Vanishing Point.” Steel Druhm takes a short break from reviewing Rogga Johansson projects to enjoy some prog-power. Feel free to join him.

Adrenaline Mob – Men of Honor Review

Adrenaline Mob – Men of Honor Review

“Umm, I’ll be honest with you. I really wasn’t looking forward to this album. As much as I worship Sir Russell Allen (Symphony X, Allen/Lande) and his golden pipes of steel, I really hate this hard rock/nu-metal side project he has going on with friends. Their Omerta debut was a painfully shallow, cringe-inducing foray into Disturbed styled nu-metal mixed with grungy barroom rock and it really didn’t work, even with Allen on vocals and Little Lord Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) on drums.” The Mob is back again. Do they rule yet?

Eden’s Curse – Symphony of Sin Review

Eden’s Curse – Symphony of Sin Review

“Standing at the crossroads of catchy hard rock and traditional metal, Eden’s Curse has been quietly killing it since 2007. Founded by vocalist Michael Eden, this quasi super group (composed of players from bands I mostly never heard of) has released three albums of high quality, hook-filled, anthemic music similar to Leverage, Masterplan, Starbreaker and the Russell/Lande albums. Though the members have ample musical chops, they eschew wankery in favor of simplistic, rocking tunes with memorable choruses and their approach invokes the charms of 80s style, bluesy, quasi-hair metal.” In the mood for something light and sweet? Eden’s Curse has just the thing for your musical sweet tooth. Oh, the sugar rush!!

Masterplan – Novum Initium Review

Masterplan – Novum Initium Review

“Originally conceived as a super group-ish side project for Helloween‘s Uli Kusch and Roland Grapow, Masterplan soon became the duo’s main gig after their ignominious firing by those silly Germanic Pumpkin rockers. Although they planned to have the Lordly Russel Allen as the singer, they instead released two solid albums of melodic power metal helmed by the mighty Jorn Lande (yes AMG, we know you don’t think he’s that mighty). While Jorn left, then rejoined to record the less than stirring Time to Be King opus, it appears he left yet again, as Novum Initium features the talents of the well-travelled Rick Altzi (ex-At Vance, ex-Thunderstone, Herman Frank).” Are you sick of hearing about how awesome Jorn is? Apparently Masterplan is too, since they seem determined to beat him at his own hard rocking game. But can they bring as much heavy rock to the land as Jorn can?

Magnus Karlsson – Free Fall Review

Magnus Karlsson – Free Fall Review

“Hot on the heels of Jorn‘s Traveller, Free Fall is living, breathing, tangible proof that Frontiers Records know their 70’s flavored hard rock! Picking up Free Fall is a little like solving a riddle… getting thrown head first into a melting pot and it’s quite literally a who’s who of hard rock or heavy metal. At the forefront of Free Fall you have the man of the hour, Swedish, heavy metal multi-instrumentalist, classically trained wizard and songwriter Magnus Karlsson axeman to the likes of Primal Fear, Allen/Lande, Last Tribe and a host of others. Do you like the slick hard rock style of metal that Jorn and Allen/Lande traffic in? Does the idea of an album with 9 vocalists work for you? This thing is directly in Madam X’s wheelhouse, so she will help you answer the above questions.

Jorn – Traveller Review

Jorn – Traveller Review

‘For Angry Metal regulars, Norway’s Jorn Lande needs NO introduction! This leaves me in a quandary… I need an opening paragraph so you get a repeat of what you already know. As Lord Steel Druhm has already mentioned in his review of Bring Heavy Rock To The Land, Lande has a massive career spanning across solo, group and collaborative projects Ark, Masterplan, Beyond Twilight, Avantasia and Allen/Lande that easily makes him one of the most recognized voices in the industry. Well surprise, surprise, hot on the heels of Symphonic, Lande adds another notch to his well-worn belt with the much anticipated all original release of Traveller.” Well, it looks like the days of Madam X’s unabashed Jorn worship have finally reached a middle. Does that mean you must bring your own heavy rock to the land (BYOHRTL)? Read and find out!