A regular feature highlighting some of the great album releases each month. I don’t do album “reviews” - these are just recommendations; simply a few words about the artists and the albums that appeal to me each month. These will be albums from which I’ll have been playing tracks on the Friday NI Rocks Shows recently.

This month there are album releases from Alirio, Blood Red Saints, Circus of Rock, Cruzh, Long Shadows Dawn, Nightranger, Steel Rhino & Black Swamp Water.



ALIRIO – “All Things Must Pass” – Frontiers 6th Aug


“All Things Must Pass” is the new album from Brazilian singer Alirio Netto and it is his first release with Frontiers. He has had a long career prior to signing with Frontiers – releasing albums with several bands as well as appearing in some big musical theatre productions. The title track from the album was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June and “Back to the Roots” is on the Show on 20th August.


Alirio joined Brazilian progressive metal band Khallice in 1999 and released the album “The Journey” with them in 2003. He fronted power metal band Age of Artemis from 2008 to 2017, releasing two albums with them, and then joined Shaman in 2019, replacing the late Andre Matos. Over the past few years Alirio has had lead roles in the musicals “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “We Will Rock You” and also fronted the Queen tribute band Queen Extravaganza.


The new solo album is a mix of melodic songs and some heavier tracks and it features a few guests, including Journey frontman Arnel Pineda on the track “Grey”. Musicians on the album include drummer Adriano Daga and bass player Felipe Andreoli.


Website - https://alirionetto.com/




BLOOD RED SAINTS – “Undisputed” – Frontiers 6th Aug



“Undisputed” is the fourth album from English band Blood Red Saints and it sees them return to Frontiers Music with whom they released their debut album in December 2015. The new album was released on 6th August. The track “This Ain’t A Love Song” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 20th August.


Blood Red Saints formed in 2014 with an original line-up that featured singer Pete Godfrey, guitarist Lee Revill, drummer Pete Newdeck, bass player Rob Naylor and keyboard player Irvin Parratt. Pete Godfrey was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in December 2015 when the band’s debut album “Speedway” was released - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/2370-ni-rocks-interview-with-pete-godfrey-from-blood-red-saints.html


The band’s next two albums were released through AoR Heaven – “Love Hate Conspiracies” in 2018 and “Pulse” in 2019. The band’s line-up has remained largely unchanged, although Andy Chemney replaced Newdeck on drums after the first album. The second and third albums also featured additional guitarist Neil Hibbs.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/bloodredsaints/




CIRCUS OF ROCK – “Come One, Come All” – Frontiers 6th Aug


Circus of Rock is a project brought together by Finnish drummer Mirka Rantanen from the band King Company. The album “Come One, Come All” features a range of guests including singers Danny Vaughn, Elize Ryd and Johnny Gioeli. It was released by Frontiers Music on 6th August. The track “Desperate Cry” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June, followed by “In Times of Despair” on 9th July and “Caught in the Middle” on 20th August.


There are over 40 musicians on the album and each track features a different guest vocalist, with a big focus on Finnish artists –

“The Beat” (Riku Turunen from Enfarce and Exlibris); “Desperate Cry” (Johnny Gioeli from Hardline & Axel Rudi Pell); “Sheriff Of Ghost Town” (Marco Hietala from Nightwish); “Never” (Kimmo Blom from Leverage); “In Times Of Despair”  (Elize Ryd from Amaranthe); “Crossroads” (Pasi Rantanen from Thunderstone); “Caught In The Middle” (Danny Vaughn from Tyketto); “Plywood Covered Windows And Crappy Shoes” (Antti Railio, ex Celesty); “Edge Of Love” (Rick Altzi from Masterpland & Heaven’s Trail); “Set Me Free” (Jarkko Ahola from Terasbetoni); “Everafter” (Tommi “Tuple” Salmela from Tuple); “No Reason” (Marc Quee) and “Tears Of The Clown” (Erik Kraemer from Simulacrum).


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/circusofrockofficial






CRUZH – “Tropical Thunder” – Frontiers 6th Aug


“Tropical Thunder” is the second album from Swedish band Cruzh and it was released on 6th August by Frontiers Music. The band formed in early 2013 and released a couple of EPs before their first album appeared in 2016. Cruzh are back with a new singer and new album. The title track featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 23rd July followed by “Turn Back Time” on 27th August.

Cruzh formed in 2013 and released an EP called “Hard to Get” the same year. That was followed by another EP called “Aim for the Head” in 2014 before the band signed to Frontiers for the release of their debut, self-titled album in 2016. The first album featured founding members Anton Joensson on guitar and Dennis Butabi Borg on bass, along with Tony Andersson on lead vocals and keyboard and Louisian Boltner on drums.


New singer Alex Waghorn joined the band in 2019. The other change to the line-up is Matt Silver on drums; with keyboards being provided by Erik Wiss.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cruzhofficial





LONG SHADOWS DAWN – “Isle of Wrath” – Frontiers 6th Aug


“Isle of Wrath” is the debut album from Long Shadows Dawn, a band featuring Scottish vocalist Doogie White. He has teamed up with Swedish singer Emil Norberg to release the album through Frontiers Music on 6th August. The track “Raging Silence” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 9th July, followed by “Deal With The Preacher” on the 23rd July.


Singer Doogie White will be best known the frontman for Rainbow from 1994 – 1997, for Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force from 2002-2007, for Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock from 2011-2106 and for Michael Schenker Fest from 2018 to the present. He also took over from Graham Bonnet as the singer for Alcatrazz in 2020. His other band is La Paz which reformed in 2009, having been active for four years during the 80’s.


Emil Norberg joined Swedish power metal band Persuader in 2001 and has played on their last four albums, the latest of which was “Necromancy” in 2020. He also played for the band Savage Circus from 2004 to 2014.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LongShadowsDawn





NIGHTRANGER – “ATBPO” – Frontiers 6th Aug


American rock icons Night Ranger released their thirteenth studio album, “ATBPO”, through Frontiers Records on 6th August. The album title refers to ‘And The Band Played On’ and is a reference to the band continuing to record music during the Covid pandemic. The track “Breakout” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in May and “Cold as December” featured on the Show on 13th August.


Night Ranger formed in 1982 although the three founding members had been working together in bnads under other names prior to that. Those three are drummer and vocalist Kelly Keagy, guitarist Brad Gillis and bass player Jack Blades. Five albums were released during the 80s before the band took a brief break. Since reforming (initially without Blades) the band have released another eight albums. “Feeding Off The Mojo” released in 1995 is the only album not to feature Keagy, Gillis and Blades.

Originally the second guitarist was Jeff Watson but he departed in 2006 and was replaced by Joel Hoekstra; who in turn was replaced by Keri Kelli when he left to join Whitesnake in 2014. Keyboard player Eric Levy has been with the band since 2011.


Hoekstra was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in February and we chatted about his time with Night Ranger - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3798-ni-rocks-interview-with-joel-hoekstra.html


Website - https://www.nightranger.com/




STEEL RHINO – “Steel Rhino” – GMR Music 20th Aug



Swedish band Steel Rhino released their self-titled debut album through GMR Music on 20th August. The band was formed by Mikael Rosengren and features singer Herbie Langhans. The track “Fire and Ice” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 20th August.


Mikael Rosengren is the drummer in Steel Rhino, but he also plays keyboards in other bands, including Constancia which he formed in 2007. The latest Constancia album “Brave New World” was released in June and was included in my recommendations for that month.


Vocalist Herbie Langhans is also the frontman for Gus G’s Firewind as well as for Beyond The Bridge, Radiant, Sonic Haven and other bands. He has also performed with Avantasia. The third member of the band is Filip Vilhelmsson who plays guitar and bass on the album.


Website - https://steelrhinoband.com/






BLACK SWAMP WATER – “Awakening” – Mighty Music 20th Aug



Danish band Black Swamp Water released their third album, “Awakening” through Mighty Music on 20th August. The band delivers a mix of southern rock and old fashioned heavy rock and metal and they’ve appeared regularly on the NI Rocks Shows since the first album was released in 2016. The first two singles from the new album, “Showdown” and “Better Days” were released last year and both have appeared on the Friday NI Rocks Show. The tracks “Endless War” and “Roll Over” have also been included on the Show in the past few weeks.

Black Swamp Water formed around 2011 and released their first album “Chapter One” in 2016 with Mighty Music. The second album “Distant Thunder” was released in 2018.


The band features Bjørn Bølling Nyholm on vocals, Jan Geert and Thomas Roland on guitars, Jeppe Birch Friis on bass and Kim Langkjaer Jensen on drums. Roland replaced Martin Lykke Hansen who played on the previous two albums. That has been the only change in the line-up over the course of the three albums.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BlackSwampWater