A regular feature highlighting some of the best album releases each month. I don’t do album “reviews” – this is simply a few words about the artists and the albums that appeal to me. It is just a personal recommendation to check out an album. These will also be albums from which I’ll have been playing tracks on the Friday NI Rocks Shows recently.

This month the albums featured are from Crazy Lixx, The Three Tremors, Memoria Avenue, Sandstone, Fans of the Dark, Jim Peterik & World Stage, Electric Guitars, Groundbreaker, Screaming Shadows, Insania, Stew, LA Guns, Timechild, Heart Line, Hearts & Hand Grenades, Barnabas Sky, Kaasin, Victory.




CRAZY LIXX – “Street Lethal” – Frontiers 5th Nov


“Street Lethal” is the seventh album from Swedish band Crazy Lixx and their sixth with Frontiers. It was released on 5th November and once again it’s another excellent offering from the band. Singer Danny Rexon has been my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show a couple of times, most recently in May 2019, and the band feature regularly on the Show. So far three tracks from “Street Lethal” have been played on the Show – “Anthem for America” in August, “Reach Out” in September and “Rise Above” in October.


Crazy Lixx formed in 2002 but it was a few years before they were performing regularly and their debut album wasn’t released until 2007. Their focus then, and now, was on re-creating the metal sound of the 80’s. At that they have been hugely successful. The first album, “Loud Minority”, was released in 2007 before the band signed to Frontiers for “New Religion” in 2010. Danny Rexon was my guest on the show in 2014 just ahead of the release of the fourth album “Crazy Lixx” and again in 2019 after the release of “Forever Wild”.

There have been a few line-up changes over the years with only singer Danny Rexon and drummer Joél Cirera remaining from the original lineup. The other band members are bass player Jens Anderson who joined in 2012 and guitarists Chrisse Olsson and Jens Lundgren who both joined in 2016.

May 2019 interview - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3597-ni-rocks-interview-with-danny-rexon-from-crazy-lixx-2019.html


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



THE THREE TREMORS – “Guardians of the Void” – Steel Cartel 5th Nov


“Guardians of the Void” is the second album from The Three Tremors, a band featuring a great triple frontman line-up of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Harry Conklin and Sean Peck. The album was released on 5th November through Steel Cartel Records and follows their self-titled debut from January 2019. The track “Crucifier” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 5th November, followed by “Bone Breakers” on 12th November.


Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens shot to fame as the frontman for Judas Priest from 1996 to 2003 before singing with Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen;s Rising Force, Dio Disciples etc. Sean ‘The Hell Destroyer’ Peck has fronted Cage since 1992, Death Dealer since 2012 and Warrior since 2014. Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin currently fronts Jag Panzer, Satan’s Host and Titan Force.

The Three Tremors released their self-titled debut in January 2019 after having already toured across Europe. Later that year the album was re-released as ‘The Solo Versions’ on three discs with each singer performing the entire album individually.

In addition to the three singers the band features Sean ‘Thrash Machine’ Elg on drums, Rafael ‘Gamma Ray’ Nogueira on bass and Casey ‘The Sentinel’ Trask and Dave ‘Conan’ Garcia on guitars.


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




MEMORIA AVENUE – “Memoria Avenue” – Frontiers 5th Nov


This is the self-titled debut from Norwegian melodic rock band Memoria Avenue and it was released on 5th November through Frontiers Music. The band features some seasoned performers from Norway alongside a newer talent in the form of singer Jan Le’Brandt. The track “Stuck” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 12th November.


Memoria Avenue formed when singer Le’Brandt teamed up with guitarist Tor Talle. The former had previously fronted the band Big City as well as covers band Svigermord and had released some solo material. Talle has worked as a song writer or performer with artists such as Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Overland and Tony Mills and has also been involved in the Northern Lights project and the band Skyscraper.


The other members of the band are drummer Bjørn Olav Lauvdal (Street Legal, The Wheel, Da Vinci etc), bass player Svenn Huneide (Stoneflower, Da Vinci) and keyboard player Dag Selboskar (Da Vinci, Street Legal etc)

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/memoriaavenue



SANDSTONE – Epsilon Sky – Limb Music 5th Nov


Northern Ireland band Sandstone released their fifth album, “Epsilon Sky” on 5th November through Limb Music. This is the band’s first new album in eight years and the release marks a welcome return to the local music scene. The first single “I Know Why” has featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show three times since September, “Cuts To You” was on the Show on 15th October and “Worn Soul” was played on 12th November.


Sandstone formed in 2003 and released an EP called “Life Giving Sun” the same year. Their debut album “Tides of Opinion” was released in 2006, followed by “Purging The Past” in 2009, “Cultural Dissonance” in 2011 and “Delta Veridian” in 2013. Tracks from the latter album in particular have featured regularly on the NI Rocks Shows over the years.


The current Sandstone members have all been part of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens live band on various occasions since 2014. Vocalist Sean McBay and guitarist Stevie McLaughlin are both founding members of the band. Guitarist Dee Kivlehan joined for the release of “Delta Veridian”, whilst drummer Eamonn McNaught and bass player Thomas Alford both joined the band after that album.


Website - http://www.sandstonerocks.co.uk/





FANS OF THE DARK – “Fans of the Dark” – Frontiers 5th Nov


This is the self-titled debut release from Swedish band Fans of the Dark and it was released on 5th November through Frontiers Music. The band only formed during 2020 when drummer Freddie Allen wrote the songs for the album in the midst of the covid pandemic. Those tracks were written with singer Alex Falk in mind and Fans of the Dark was formed. The other members of the band are bass player Robert Majd and guitarist Oscar Bromvall.


The first single “Escape From Hell” which features Ryan Roxie, was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in August and the follow-up “Life Kills” was on the Show during September.


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



JIM PETERIK & WORLD STAGE – “Tigress – Women Who Rock The World” – Frontiers 5th Nov


Jim Peterik will be best known as a founding member of Survivor and co-writer of rock classic “Eye of the Tiger”, although he has written for numerous bands and released many albums last fifty years. One of his projects is World Stage in which he collaborates with a range of artists. The latest album “Tigress – Women Who Rock The World” was released by Frontiers on 5th November and features a wide range of top female talent.

“Prom Night In Pontiac” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show is September, followed by “A Cappella” in October and “Lazarus Heart” on 19th November.

Jim Peterik plays guitar and provides backing vocals on all the tracks and also played bass on a few. In addition to the female artists listed below, the album also features guitarists Joel Hoekstra (Tracks 6, 13 and 14), Mike Aquino (Tracks 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11) and Tom Yankton (Track 7) and drummers Ed Breckenfeld (Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 16) and Colin Peterik (Track 10)


1. Tigress: Vocals - Kate French; Guitar - Jennifer Batten; Violin - Abigail Stanshmidt.

2. Prom Night In Pontiac: Vocals - Chloe Lowery; Drums - Anika Nilles; Bass - Ashley Reeve.
3. A Cappella: Vocals - Chez Kane
4. Living For The Moment: Vocals - Cathy Richardson; Guitar - Jennifer Batten; Drums - Linda McDonald
5. Against The Grain: Vocals - Rosa Laricchiuta
6. Strong Against The Wind: Vocals - Kate French; Bass – Ashley Reeve
7. Full Moon Crazy: Vocals - Cathy Richardson; Guitar - Jennifer Batten
8. Lazarus Heart: Vocals - Janet Gardner
9. Taller: Vocals - Leslie Hunt
10. The Best In Us: Vocals - Cathy Richardson & Kimi Hayes
11. Dear Life: Vocals - Lindsay Kent; Drums - Sina
12. Walk Like Royalty: Vocals - Kimi Hayes; Guitar - Nile Brosh; Drums – Madden Klass
13. Music In The Aire: Vocals - Chloe Lowery
14. Sin To Believe A Lie: Vocals - Cathy Richardson; Drums - Madden Klass
15. Stronger At The Broken Places: Vocals - Marine Lacoste; Guitar - Jennifer Batten; Drums - Linda McDonald
16. Brave Is Beautiful: Vocals - Leslie Hunt; Sax and Vocals - Mindi Abair

Chez Kane was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in March - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3803-ni-rocks-interview-with-chez-kane.html

Website - https://jimpeterik.com/



ELECTRIC GUITARS – “Freewheeler” – Mighty Music 12th Nov


Danish band Electric Guitars released their fourth studio album, “Freewheeler”, through Mighty Music on 12th November. The band is centred round two guitarists who also share lead vocals – Søren Andersen and Mika Vandborg. The first two singles from the album featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show – “Dopamine” back in May and then “Hot Blooded Woman” in October. The track “Going Out” was included on the Show on 19th November.


I tend to associate Søren Andersen with Mike Tramp as the two have worked together extensively, but he has worked with many great artists including Glenn Hughes. He also runs Medley Studios in Copenhagen and has a highly successful career as a producer and engineer. On top of all that he has released a couple of solo albums as well; most recently “Guilty Pleasures” in 2019. Mika Vabdborg has also performed with many artists, including Justin Hawkins, and he has released three solo albums; the most recent of which was “Wall of Books” in 2012.


The other band members are bass player Peter Kjøbsted and drummer Morten Hellborn. The band’s first self-titled album was released in 2013, followed by “String Fever” in 2015 and “Rock n Roll Radio” in 2017. A live album called “10 Songs, 10 Cities” was released in 2019.


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



GROUNDBREAKER – “Soul To Soul” – Frontiers 12th Nov


Groundbreaker is a side-project for FM frontman Steve Overland and “Soul To Soul” is the second release from the band. It was released on 12th November by Frontiers Music, three years after the self-titled debut album. The track “Standing on the Edge of a Broken Dream” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in August and “There’s No Tomorrow” was featured on 29th October.


The first Groundbreaker album featured Overland with guitarist/keyboard player Robert Säll, bass player Nalle Påhlsson and drummer Herman Furin. Säll did much of the song-writing whilst Alessandro Del Vecchio handled production. This time Overland and Del Vecchio are part of a team of writers and the latter also plays keyboards on the album. Sven Larsson takes over on guitar.


Steve Overland was a guest on the Show away back in 2014 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1454-ni-rocks-interview-with-steve-overland-of-fm.html


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




SCREAMING SHADOWS – “Legacy of Stone” – From The Vaults 12th Nov


“Legacy of Stone” is the fifth studio album from Italian metal band Screaming Shadows and their first in ten years. It was released on 12th November through From The Vaults which is part of the Target label group. The band includes guitarist Francesco Marras who has also been a member of Tygers of Pan Tang since 2020. The track “Free Me” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June and “Crimes With No Name” was featured on 15th October. “Heaven or Hell” was included on the NI Rocks A-Z Show in August.


Guitarist Francesco Marras formed Screaming Shadows in 2001, although there were earlier versions of the band known as Survivors (1997-98) and Eruption (1999-2001). Screaming Shadows released a self-titled EP in 2001, followed by their debut album “Behind The Mask” in 2003. Further albums followed in 2005, 2009 and 2011.


There have been many line-up changes over the twenty years and the first four albums featured three different lead vocalists. Other than Marras, the only person to play on all four of those albums was bass player Antonio Doro. The new album brings a whole new line-up with Alessandro Marras on vocals, Francesco Marras on guitar, Jürgen Steinmetz on bass and Michele Sanna on drums.


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



INSANIA – “V (Praeparatus Supervivet)” – Frontiers 12th Nov


Swedish power metal band Insania released their first album in 14 years on 12th November. This is their first album with Frontiers Music but their fifth since the band formed in 1992 and it is called “V (Praeparatus Supervivet)”. The band went on a hiatus in 2007 after the release of their fourth album and reformed in 2013. The track “Solur” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 12th November.


Insania formed in 1992 but their debut album “World of Ice” wasn’t released until 1999. Further albums followed in 2001, 2003 and 2007 prior to the band going on hiatus. Only bass player Tomas Stolt and drummer Mikko Korsbäck remain from the original line-up. Guitarist Niklas Dahlin was in the band from 1994 to 2001 before rejoining in 2013 whilst guitarist Peter Östros joined initially in 2003. Vocalist Dimitri Keiski originally joined the band in 2002 as a keyboard player but took up lead vocals in 2013. The other lead vocalist is Ola Halén who was in the band from 2002 to 2010 before rejoining in 2021.


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



STEW – “Taste” – Uprising! Records 12th Nov


Swedish band Stew released their second album, “Taste”, through Uprising! Records (part of the Target Group) on 12th November. The three-piece band deliver a very 70’s blues-hard rock vibe. The track “Heavy Wings” was included on the NI Rocks A-Z Show on 16th November. I’ll be featuring another track from the album on the Friday NI Rocks Show over the next couple of weeks.

Stew formed in 2017 and released an EP called “Hot” the following year. Classic Rock Magazine selected the track “Might Be Keeping You” for their Best of the Year issue. The band got signed to Ripple Records for the release of their debut album “People” in 2019.


Stew are Markus Âsland on vocals and bass, Nicklas Jansson on guitar and Nicklas Dahlgren on drums.


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



L.A. GUNS – “Checkered Past” – Frontiers 12th Nov


“Checkered Past” is the third studio album from the classic Tracii Guns / Phil Lewis L.A. Guns line-up since the two re-united in 2017. It was released on 12th November through Frontiers Records. I picked up a copy of the album on marbled vinyl. The track “Knock Me Down” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in August, followed by “Cannonball in September and then “Get Along” on 22nd October.


I’m fairly sure no one needs a summary of the L.A. Guns story from first formation in 1983 through the self-titled debut album in 1988 to the various line-up changes and competing versions of the band that continues to the current day. When Guns and Lewis reunited in 2017 it was a reunion of the two main characters in the most successful version of the band.


Tracii Guns was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show a couple of years prior to the reunion in 2015 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/2196-ni-rocks-interview-with-tracii-guns.html

The first release when Guns and Lewis reunited was “The Missing Peace” in 2017 – Phil Lewis was my guest on the Show just after that - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3228-ni-rocks-interview-with-phil-lewis-from-la-guns.html


The band released a studio album called “The Devil You Know” in 2017 and have also released two live albums – “Made In Milan” in 2018 and “Cocked and Loaded (Live)” in July of this year.


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




TIMECHILD – “And Yet It Moves” – Mighty Music 12th Nov


Danish band Timechild released their debut album “And Yet It Moves” through Mighty Music on 12th November. The band formed in 2020 and then wrote and recorded the album during the covid lockdown. The track “This Too Will Pass” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June and “Haze of the Dawn” was included in August, whilst the title track was on the Show on 10th December.

Timechild features four Danish musicians who have been around the music scene for some time and who wanted to create a new project that drew on their various influences and styles. Those musicians are vocalist and guitarist Anders Folden Brink, guitarist Birk, drummer Martin Haumann and bass player Daniel Bach. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Søren Andersen.

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



HEART LINE – “Back In The Game” – Pride & Joy 19th Nov

French melodic rock band Heart Line released their debut album called “Back In The Game” through Pride & Joy Records on 19th November. The track “On Fire” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in September.


Heart Line formed in 2020 and features guitarist Yvan Guillevic, bass player Dominique Braud, singer Emmanuel Creis, drummer Walter Français, and keyboard player Jorros Gulbaud. All have previously performed in other bands. Both Guillevic and Braud performed with YGAS whilst the latter three have all performed with Shadyon.


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



HEARTS & HAND GRENADES – “Between The Lines” – Eclipse 19th Nov

“Between The Lines” is the second album to be released by American hard rock band Hearts & Hand Grenades; and also their second this year. Both albums have been released through Eclipse Records. The track “Bad Medicine” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in September followed by “Between The Lines” on 15th October.


Hearts & Hand Grenades started as a covers band in 2012, but started writing their own songs in 2019 following an invite from Goo Goo Dolls vocalist Robby Takac to record something at GCR Studios. The EP “Wait” was released in July 2019. That was followed in January 2021 by the band’s debut EP “Turning To Ashes”. A couple of tracks from that album were featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show late last year and it was included in our recommendations feature in January.


Hearts & Hand Grenades are Stephanie Wlosinski on vocals and bass, Mike Bress on guitar and keyboards, Kenny Blesy on guitar and Tom Lafferty on drums.


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



BARNABAS SKY – “Inspirations” – Pride & Joy Music 19th Nov

“Inspirations” is the debut album from Barnabas Sky and it was released on 19th November by Pride & Joy Music. Barnabas Sky is a music project created by German musician Markus Pfeffer and the album features a number of well know guest vocalists. The track “Legends Rise” featuring Danny Vaughn on vocals was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 19th November whilst “Yesterday’s Gone” with Rob Rock was on the Show on 10th December.


Markus Pfeffer will be known for his involvement in Lazarus Dream, Winterland and Scarlett. On this album he has worked with singers who have influenced his career. Those singers include Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Jesse Damon (Silent Rage), Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper), Danny Martinez Jr (Guild of Ages), Rob Rock (Axel Rudi Pell/Impellitteri), Zak Stevens (Savatage) and Paul Sabu (Sabu).


Other musicians on the album include keyboard player Thomas Nitschke, pianist Micheal Weickenmeyer, drummer Thomas Rieder and bass [;ayer Bernd Schreiber.


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



KAASIN – “Fired Up” – Pride & Joy Music 19th Nov

“Fired Up” is the debut album from Kaasin, the band formed by guitarist Jo Henning Kassin; who is probably best known for his work with Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Doogie White and Bernie Mardsen. The album was released on 19th Nov by Pride & Joy Music. The band’s first single “Runaway Train” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in September 2020, followed by the track “Revelation” in January 2021, Bith these tracks are included on the CD release of the album as bonus tracks. “We Are One” was included on the Show on 26th November.


Jo Henning Kaasin fromed Kaasin in 2020 following the decision to place the Deep Purple inspired band Come Taste The Band on hiatus. His brother Staale Kaasin was recruited to pay bass. The other musicians on the album are singer Jan Thore Grefstad, keyboard player Benjamin Dehli and drummer Chris Brush.


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



VICTORY – “Gods of Tomorrow” – AFM 26th Nov

“Gods of Tomorrow” is the first new album from German band Victory in ten years and it was released through AFM Records on 26th November. The band has had many line-up changes since first forming in 1984 and none of the original members remain. The key figure in the band is guitarist Herman Frank who had first joined Victory in 1986. The track “Cut To The Bone” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in July followed by “Love & Hate” on 5th November.


Victory formed in 1984 and released their self-titled debut the following year. Herman Frank joined the band for the second album “Don’t Get Mad...Get Even” in 1986. The first two albums and “Hungry Hearts” in 1987 featured Charlie Huhn on vocals. The next four albums between 1989 and 1996 featured vocalist Fernando Garcia. The band went on hiatus for a time before returning in 2003 with Huhn again on vocals, but he was replaced in 2005 by Jioti Parcharidis and Frank also returned to the band that year. Following the album “Don’t Talk Science” in 2011 the band again went on hiatus.


The remaining founding members of Victory, Peter Knorn on bass and Tommy Newton on guitar, both of whom were with the band from 1984 through to 2011, aren’t involved in the latest reunion of the band. Guitarist Herman Frank is the only member of the band to have played on a previous Victory album. He is joined by vocalist Gianni Pontillo, guitarist Mike Pesin, bass player Malte Frederik Burkert and drummer Michael Stein.


Website - http://www.victory-band.com/