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 there were a lot fewer releases than during November, but albums from Manimal and Land of Gypsies were definitely worth featuring.



MANIMAL – “Armageddon” – AFM Records 3rd Dec


“Armageddon” is the fourth album from Swedish power metal band Manimal and it was released on 3rd December by AFM Records. I’ve been playing tracks from the band on the Shows since the release of their second album in 2015 and have included a few tracks from “Armageddon” on the Friday NI Rocks Show this year. The track “Forged in Metal” was included on the Show back in April followed by “Chains of Fury” in October; with the title track being featured on the Show on 31st Dec.


Manimal formed in 2000 and released a few demos prior to the release of their debut album “The Darkest Room” in 2009. By the time “Trapped In The Shadows” was released in 2015 the band had signed to AFM Records. Their third album “Purgatorio” was released in 2018.


Vocalist Samuel Nyman and guitarist Henrik Stenroos were founding members of the band. They are joined by bass player Kenny Boufadene and drummer Andre Holmqvist who have played on the last three albums.


Website - https://www.manimal.se/



LAND OF GYPSIES – “Land of Gypsies” – Frontiers 10th Dec


This is the self-titled debut from LA based band Land of Gypsies and it was released on 10th December by Frontiers Records. Notably, the band features XYZ and former Great White vocalist Terry Ilous. Three tracks from the album have featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show – “Shattered” in October, “Believe” on 19th November and “Trouble” on 31st December.


Land of Gypsies were initially called Gang of Souls. The band features singer Terry Ilous who has fronted XYZ since 1982. He also fronted Great White between 2010 and 2018. The other members are bass player Fabrizio Grossi, guitarist Serge Simic and drummer Tony Morra. Grossi is an Italian musician and producer who moved to the USA in the 90’s. Since then he has worked with Steve Vai, Billy F. Gibbons, Leslie West, Steve Lukather, Glenn Hughes, Alice Cooper and many more. His band Supersonic Blues Machine was formed as a reflection of his love of rock and blues and it currently features drummer Kenny Aronoff and singer/guitarist Kris Barras.

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