Melodic Rock & AOR Round-Up by Woody


In his regular column for Midlands rocks, Woody, reviews the latest news and happenings across the melodic rock and AOR scene.

So this month sees the final line-up of Z Rock 2012 confirmed and the Festival takes place at The Robin 2 in Bilston on May 5th & 6th. The past few months have seen the festival expand from a one day event to two and also a few cancellations most notably Tony Mills, who I’m gutted to hear, is no longer playing. So with three months till the event the finalised line-up is

Saturday 5th May – Paul Sabu, Prophet, Arabia, Legion, Vanden Plas, Shakra & Aftermath

Sunday 6th May – Von Groove, Michael Bormann, Newman, Hush, D’ercole, Summers & Scream Arena

I have to admit last year’s Z Rock line-up didn’t exactly have me excited but this year I’m really looking forward to seeing Cult AOR legends Paul Sabu, Prophet & Von Groove amongst many others, hopefully this year’s festival is more successful and has found a home at the rather nifty Robin.

2012 is going to be an explosive year for melodic rockers VEGA. The band has finished recording their hotly anticipated second album, which may be entitled What The Hell and are currently mixing and mastering. The album is set to drop this year and should see the band increase their fan base and popularity. The band also plan to film a video to help promote the new album, although they haven’t decided on a single, the hot tip is a song called ‘Bless My Soul’. Other song titles include ‘Skin Deep’ & ‘Cry’ and the album will be 14 tracks long! This year should also see VEGA hit the live circuit hard! I just want everyone to remember I said from day one these guys were going to be massive…….screw it…..I told you so!!!!

The extremely popular Jeff Scott Soto will release his fifth studio album on March 25th in the UK. The album entitled Damage Control will be released on Frontiers Records. JSS is well known for his experimental and all genre encompassing solo works, but it seems his latest opus will see him in a more commercial melodic hard rock vein which is set to see fans of his other work with Talisman & W.E.T go totally bananas!

A band you’ll need to keep your ears open for this year are Skin & Bone. The band features Johnny Trowbridge and Richie Beardsley, who used to be in an old favourite of mine – Tara’s Secret. The band will see a radically departure in sound from their previous outfit and will have heavier and darker stance and will lean more towards bands like Dokken. Although I haven’t heard a single note I have been assured I’m going to love it!

Paul Sabu’s new album is to be called Bangkok Rules and is set to see Sabu return to his glory days. The album is set to be released in March on Z Records just in time for his headline performance at Z Rock 2012.

January 25th saw the sad passing of Mark Reale a founder member of iconic melodic metallers Riot. R.I.P Mark

Bonfire will release an EP for charity featuring the song ‘Cry For Help’. The EP will come out in March with 1 euro from every purchase going directly to animal protection charity, PETA.

A few years after calling it a day English melodic rockers Lost Weekend are set to return with a reignited passion and drive. The band are hard at work rehearsing and writing new material for an upcoming album later in the year with Martin Kronlund on board to produce, Kronlund produced the bands last album Fear & Innocence. Hey guys, it’s good to have you back!

Little Angels have surprised and excited fans by announcing they have reformed to perform a special one off show at Download 2012. I for one am over the moon at the bands impending return to world of Rock. Here’s hoping the band is back for a bit more….

Popular American melodic rockers Trixter have been signed up by Frontiers Records. The album is due in the spring and a European tour is currently on the cards to support their third yet untitled album.

Tango Down, now featuring vocalist David Reece (Bangalore Choir), will release their second album Identity Crisis in March via Kivel Records. I’m looking forward to hearing their version of ‘Corners Of My Mind’ written by Jace Pawlak and my favourite song from his band’s Chasing Magic’s recent album.

Z Records have signed cult Norwegian Melodic Rockers Hush in a multi album deal. Z has also lined the band up for an appearance at the upcoming Z Rock 2012.

Lita Ford is to make a comeback with and album more in keeping with her glory days this summer. The album entitled Living Like A Runaway will be released in May via SPV/Steamhammer.

Danish melodic metallers Pretty Maids celebrate their 30th anniversary with the release of their first LIVE performance DVD. It comes Alive will be released on March 25th in the UK via Frontiers Records. The double CD & DVD package is going to be a must for diehard fans.

Micki Free who’s probably best known as the original guitarist with cult AOR rockers Crown Of Thorns, is set to release a new solo album. The album entitled Tattoo Burn is to be released on April 9th and Micki will be making an extremely rare live appearance at The Garage in London on April 16th.

There are special guests galore on the upcoming Tom Galley’s Phenomena album due out in March via Escape Music. I’m quite looking forward to this as it features guest appearance from the likes of Lee Small, Mike Slamer, Terry Brock, Steve Newman and Tommy Denander amongst others.

Prolific Anglo-American outfit Legion are set to release their third album in as many years on Z Records. The album entitled Nemesis is due out on February 27th and should see the band expand their fan base with their best work to date. Look out for the band LIVE at Z Rock 2012.

Rising British metallers Furyon have just been signed by Frontiers Records. Their debut album Gravitas will be released worldwide on March 25th. The band features some cult AOR-sters in vocalist Matt Mitchell, guitarist Chris Green (Pride) and guitarist Pat Heath (Passion Street / Danny Vaughn) but Furyon are full on METAL and gathered some new fans with a high profile support slot on the Winger tour a few years back!

Look out for January releases on Frontiers Records from Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage, Primal Fear – Unbreakable & Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit.

Lee Small released his solo album Jamaica Inn via Escape Music on 20th January.

Z Records re-issued Prophet’s self titled album on January 30th.

Mark Spiro’s album It’s A Beautiful Life was released via AOR Heaven on the 27th of January

Also look out for a quartet of albums on the Avenue of Allies label, Coastland Ride – Coastland Ride, Coastland Ride – On Top of The World, Angeline – Disconnected & Iain Ashley Hersey – Vintage Love.

Outloud have unfinished business with their last album Love Catastrophe and are set to release their More Catastrophe EP on March 30th. It features new and special tracks!

Flamboyant glamsters Reckless Love have landed the support slot on the upcoming Black Veil Brides tour, which includes a date at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on 24th March.