“Mad World” is the twelfth studio album from Swiss band Shakra since they formed in 1997, and the third since the return of lead singer Mark Fox in 2015. It was released on 28th February by AFM Records. I managed to pick-up one of the orange and black marbled vinyl editions of the albumthat were limited to 100 copies! I’ve been a big fan of the band for quite a few years and I’ve featured three tracks from the new album on the Friday NI Rocks Show since mid January – “Too Much Is Not Enough”, “Turn The Light On” and “Fireline”.

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“Against” is the fifth album to be released by Italian female-fronted band Secret Rule since they formed in 2014 and I’ve published recommendations for all five. The latest album was released on 21st February through Pride & Joy Music. The band have featured regularly on the NI Rocks Shows on Rock Radio NI over the past five years and the track “Purgatory” from the new album was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 24th January.

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“Reflection” is the second album from Syteria, the band that features guitarist Jackie ‘Jax’ Chambers from Girlschool. It was officially released on 21st February via Cargo Records, having been released last year following a Kickstarter campaign. I spoke to Jackie about the band and the new album when she was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show last July – http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3621-ni-rocks-interview-with-jackie-chambers-from-girlschool.html . The album’s title track was included on that Show and the single “Make Some Noise” was featured on the Show in January.

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British band Collateral released their self-titled debut album on 21st February through Roulette Media Records. Distribution is being handled by Cargo Records and the album is also available in orange vinyl. The release of the debut album follows the release of the band’s first EP in 2018. The track “Merry Go Round” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 14th February, followed by “Promiseland” on 13th March.

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“Tear the Sky Wide Open” is the debut EP from Silverthorne, a band that features singer / guitarist Pete Shoulder and drummer Brian Tichy. It was released on 21st February via Golden Robot Records. A couple of the tracks had been released as singles during 2019. The single “Tear the Sky Wide Open” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in August, followed by “Black River Rising” in November. The track “Roll Me Back Again” was included more recently, on 14th March.

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Guitarist Greg Fraser is probably best known as a member of Canadian band Brighton Rock with whom he released three albums during a ten year period between 1982 and 1992. He also played for Helix for four years in the 90’s. Brighton Rock reformed in 2001 and Fraser also released a couple of albums with Fraze Gang. He now has a new band called Storm Force and they released their debut album “Age of Fear” via Escape Music on 24th January.

I arranged to chat with Greg via Skype on 16th March and we chatted for about 35 minutes about Storm Force and the new album. We also discussed Brighton Rock, Helix, Fraze Gang, Rory Gallagher, the music scene and much more. That interview can be heard on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 20th March - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/hosts/ni-rocks-friday-rock-show.html (uploaded 21st Mar)

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“Fallen” is the debut album from the band Archon Angel which was formed by vocalist Zak Stevens and guitarist Aldo Lonobile. Stevens is best known as the frontman for Savatage and Circle II Circle whilst Lonobile is best known as a founding member of the band Secret Sphere. The album was released on 14th February by Frontiers Music. The track “Fallen” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in December, followed by “Rise” on 24th January and “The Serpent” on 21st February.

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Canadian metal legends Anvil return to Belfast to play a gig in the Limelight on 11th March. That gig is part of a tour to promote the band’s latest album “Legal At Last” which was released on 14th February through AFM Records. Since forming back in 1978 the band has now released eighteen studio albums and they are one of the few bands from the 80’s to continue to release albums regularly without ever taking a break. The track “Nabbed in Nebraska” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in December and “Legal At Last” featured on 31st January.

Last Updated (Sunday, 08 March 2020 22:39)

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“Shake The World” is the debut album from Black Swan, a band that features Robin McAuley, Reb Beach, Jeff Pilson and Matt Starr. With a line-up like that it should come as no surprise that the band is signed to Frontiers Music. I recorded an interview with Jeff Pilson at the end of January which featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on the same day as the album was released – 14th February. That Show included three tracks from the album and the tracks “Shake The World” and “Big Disater” had already featured on Shows over the previous few weeks.

Last Updated (Sunday, 08 March 2020 22:40)

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English band Absolva release their fifth studio album, “Side By Side”, through Rocksector Records on 17th April. Ahead of the release of that album I had the opportunity to chat with singer and guitarist Chris Appleton about Absolva, the album and being part of Blaze Bayley’s band. We chatted via Skype on 27th February and you can hear that interview, along with four tracks from the new Absolva album and one from the new Blaze Bayley album on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 6th March - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/hosts/ni-rocks-friday-rock-show.html

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Dutch symphonic metal band Delain released their sixth studio album, “Apocalypse & Chill”, through Napalm Records on 7th February. It has been almost four years since the release of the last studio album in 2016, although the EP “Hunter’s Moon” had been released in February 2019. The Friday NI Rocks Show on 7th February included a promotional interview that had been recorded by the band’s founding member Martijn Westerholt. The tracks “Burning Bridges” and “One Second” have also been featured on the Show in recent weeks.

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