“Sign of the Dragonhead” is the first Leave’s Eyes album to feature new vocalist Elina Siirala and it was released on 12th January via AFM Records.  This is the seventh release from the symphonic metallers since they formed in 2003 and like all the others, the album is focused on a specific story. “Sign of the Dragonhead” once again focuses on the Viking legends and the eleven great tracks on the album all tell specific stories. The track “Across The Sea” is included on the Friday NI Rocks Show this week.

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“Darkness Remains” was the second full-length album released by Californian metal band Night Demon. It was originally released via Steamhammer/SPV in April 2017 and for some reason escaped my attentions at the time. On 12th January an “Expanded Version” of the album is released, featuring different mixes of all the tracks, a commentary on each and a number of bonus tracks. To make up for my previous lapse, I wanted to get a recommendation posted for this new release. I played the track “Life on the Run” from the album on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 22nd December.

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I’ve seen bass player Marco Mendoza performing with a few bands over the years – Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders and most recently The Dead Daisies – and he never fails to impress. I arranged to speak to Marco via Skype on 3rd January to talk about his new solo album “Viva La Rock” which is released through Mighty Music on 2nd March, and the tour that is planned to coincide with the album launch. The tour includes a date in Voodoo, Belfast on Sunday 18th February.  We chatted for almost an hour, about the new solo album, the upcoming tour, working with Ted Nugent, Neal Schon and others, the new Dead Daisies album and more. We could have talked for even longer to be honest!

Last Updated (Tuesday, 09 January 2018 22:36)

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My first album recommendation for 2018 is for the debut album from multi-national group Panorama. The album “Around the World” is released through Rock of Angels Records (ROAR) on 12th January. Reading the PR material from Rock n Growl, what sparked my interest was the involvement of Dennis Ward; not just in production, but as a member of the band. A quick listen to the album confirmed that it was definitely worth checking out further. To date I’ve played two tracks from the album on the Friday NI Rocks Show – “Around The World” on 1st December and “Standing my Ground” on 5th January.

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At this time of year there are numerous ‘reviews’ of the past year or ‘Top Ten’ whatever being posted, but I decided a few years ago that I wouldn’t be adding to those. Instead, I always like to post to express my thanks to many people and look back at the past year for “NI Rocks”. As always, a big thanks to anyone who takes the time to listen to a Show, read something on the Rock Radio NI website or interact in any way on social media. And a special thanks to all the PR companies, record labels, agents and bands who have worked with us over the past year.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 03 January 2018 23:08)

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There are two NI Rocks Shows each week on Rock Radio NI. These are the playlists for those shows for the month of December – all of which are still available from the On Demand Player. There are tracks by over 150 different artists on the Shows this month. Playlists for November were published previously and these Shows are also available via the On Demand Player –http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/news/rrni-updates/3266-ni-rocks-playlists-for-november-2017.html

There were no guests being interviewed on the Friday NI Rocks Show this month – that meant we had more time to play music and ended up featuring 115 tracks on the Show by 102 different artists.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 January 2018 00:10)

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“Beyond The Rain” is the third album from American metal band Wildestarr and it was released on 8th December via Scarlet Records. The band features the husband and wife team of Dave Starr and London Wilde and they both deliver powerful performances on guitars and vocals respectively. I’ve featured a couple of tracks on the Friday NI Rocks Show – “Beyond the Rain” on the Show uploaded on 29th November and “When The Night Falls” on the Show uploaded on 14th December.

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“Petrolhead” is the second album to be released by Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin, following on from the debut release back in 2013. That self-titled album was among the earliest recommendations that I posted on the Rock Radio NI website. The new album was released on 8th December via Toxic Arrow Records and features 11 tracks that reflect Archer’s love of cars. I included the track “Grand Theft Auto” on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 15th December.

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“Back On The Lash” is the latest album from US rockers Warrior Soul and it was released on 1st December via Livewire / Cargo Records UK. I was never really a fan of the band when they emerged from New York and released their first albums in the early 90’s. A little too punk influenced for my tastes at the time probably. The last couple of studio albums from the band have been more to my taste and there are more than enough tracks on “Back On The Lash” that I like to warrant posting a recommendation. I featured the closing track “That’s How We Roll” on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 15th December.

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Two former Giuffria members, vocalist David Glen Eisley and guitarist Craig Goldy, have come together in a new project simply called Eisley / Goldy. They released their debut album “Blood, Guts and Games” through Frontiers Music on 1st December. The album delivers what you’d expect from these artists – ten quality, melodic / classic rock tracks. The lead-off track “The Heart is A Lonely Hunter” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 8th December.

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“Life” is the new album from Swedish band JONO and it was released via Frontiers Music on 1st December.  The band was initially started as a solo project by singer Johan Norrby but has evolved over the years and is notable for including Within Temptation’s Stefan Helleblad on guitar. JONO are a bit hard to label as far as genres go as they merge melodic, progressive and symphonic rock elements. There are a couple of tracks that don’t tick the box for me personally, but overall definitely an album worth checking out.

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