A regular feature highlighting some of the best album releases each month. I don’t do album “reviews” – this is simply a personal recommendation to check out an album - just a few words about the albums that appeal to me and about the artists releasing them. These will also be albums from which I’ll have been playing tracks on the Friday NI Rocks Shows recently. This month it will include albums from Allen/Olzon, Dead City Ruins, Marco Mendoza, House of Lords, Ginevra, Eva Under Fire, Kings of Mercia, The Dead Daisies, Mitchell's Kiss of the Gypsy and Monster Truck.


ALLEN/OLZON – “Army of Dreamers” – Frontiers 9th Sept

“Army of “Dreamers” is the second album from the collaboration between singers Russell Allen and Anette Olzon and it was released on 9th September by Frontiers Music. Once again the album was produced and recorded by Magnus Karlsson who also plays guitars, bass and keyboards. The track “Army of Dreamers” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in July, followed by “All Alone” on 5th August and then “So Quiet Here” on 26th August.


Russell Allen will be best known as the frontman for Symphony X and Adrenaline Mob. He has also performed with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and has released four albums with Jorn Lande. Anette Olzon was the front-woman for Nightwish for five years and since then has released two solo albums and two albums with The Dark Element. The first Allen/Olzon album, “Worlds Apart”, was released in 2020.


Magnus Karlsson has been involved as a musician, producer or song writer in numerous projects, including Primal Fear, The Ferrymen, Free Fall, Starbreaker etc. He also worked on three of the Allen Lande albums. He was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2019 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3674-ni-rocks-interview-with-magnus-karlsson


The drummer on the album is Anders Köllerfors and it was mixed by Jacob Hansen.


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


DEAD CITY RUINS – “Shockwave” – AFM 16th September

“Shockwave” is the fourth album from Australian rockers Dead City Ruins, but their first with new singer Steve Welsh. It was released by AFM Records on 16th September. The track “Preacher” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April, followed by “The Sorcerer” in July.


Dead City Ruins formed in England back in 2007 before re-locating back home to Melbourne. They released an EP called “Lost In London” in 2007 and their debut album “Midnight Killer” in 2011/12. That was followed by a self-titled album in 2013 and their first album with AFM Records, “Never Say Die”, in 2018.


Dead City Ruins are singer Steve Welsh, guitarists Tommy Cain and Sean Blanchard, bass player Thomas Murphy and drummer Nick Trajanovski.


Website - https://deadcityruins.com/


MARCO MENDOZA – “New Direction” – Mighty Music 16th Sept

Bass player Marco Mendoza will be best known for his work with bands such as The Dead Daisies, Black Star Riders, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent etc, but he has also released a number of solo albums. The fourth of those, “New Direction”, was released by Mighty Music on 16th September. The track “Take It To The Limit” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April, followed by “Shoot For The Stars” in May. The title track was included on the Show on 22nd July.


On “New Direction” Marco has re-united with producer and musician Soren Andersen who worked on the 2018 album “Viva La Rock”. Marco plays bass and provides the lead vocals, whilst Soren plays guitars and keyboards. They are joined by guitarist Tommy Gentry from Gun and drummers Morten Hellborn from Electric Guitars and Allan Tschicaja from Pretty Maids.


Marco was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in January 2018 after the release of “Viva La Rock” - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3279-ni-rocks-interview-with-marco-mendoza


Since the early 90’s Marco has recorded or performed with many artists including Blue Murder, John Sykes, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Lynch Mob, Black Star Riders, Neal Schon and The Dead Daisies. He is part of the new ‘super-group’ Iconic alongside Nathan James, Michael Sweet, Joel Hoekstra and Tommy Aldridge. Marco released his first solo album, “Live for Tomorrow” in 2007, followed by “Casa Mendoza” in 2010 and “Viva La Rock” in 2018

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


HOUSE OF LORDS – “Saints and Sinners” – Frontiers 16th Sept

“Saints and Sinners” is the thirteenth studio album from House of Lords and the tenth to be released through Frontiers. It was released on 16th September. The first single “House of the Lord” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 5th August, followed by the album title-track on 2nd September.


There have been a couple of line-up changes since the release of “New World – New Eyes” in 2020 with only vocalist James Christian and guitarist Jimi Bell remaining. New to the line-up is Mark Mangold from Touch and Drive She Sais on keyboards. He also co-wrote and produced much of the album. Drummer BJ Zampa who had been with the band since 2005 has been replaced by Johan Koleberg.


House of Lords was formed in 1987 by keyboard player Gregg Giuffria and he and singer James Christian were the only constant members of the band during the period up to 1993 when they split after releasing three albums. The band reformed in 2000 but Giuffria left before the release of “The Power and the Myth” in 2004. From 2005 there was a more steady line-up with Christian, Bell, Zampa and bass player Chris McCarvill being present on five of the six albums released by 2015. Chris Tristram took over on bass in 2016.


Guitarist Jimi Bell was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2017 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3105-ni-rocks-interview-with-jimi-bell-from-house-of-lords - and singer James Christian was a guest back in 2014 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1474-ni-rocks-interview-with-james-christian-from-house-of-lords.html . Mark Mangold was a guest on the Show during 2021 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3806-ni-rocks-interview-with-mark-mangold 


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


GINEVRA – “We Belong to the Stars” – Frontiers 16th Sept

“We Belong to the Stars” is the debut album from Swedish band Ginevra and it was released on 16th September by Frontiers Music. The band features some well known Swedish musicians, particularly Magnus Karlsson from Primal Fear, The Ferrymen etc – this is his second mention in the album recommendations this month! The track “Unbreakable” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in July, followed by “Siren’s Calling” later that month and then “Apologize” on 19th August.


Ginevra was formed as an alternative outlet for singer Kristain Fyhr, from the band Seventh Crystal, when Frontiers teamed him up with guitarist and producer Magnus Karlsson. Bass player Jimmy Jay from H.E.A.T. and Magnus Ulfstedt, who has drummed for Eclipse and Nordic Union, were also recruited. Singer Chez Kane provides additional vocals on the track “Masquerade”, whilst Alessandro Del Vecchio provides keyboards as well as producing, mixing and mastering the album.


Magnus Karlsson has been involved as a musician, producer or song writer in numerous projects, including Primal Fear, The Ferrymen, Free Fall, Starbreaker, Allen/Olzon etc. He was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2019 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3674-ni-rocks-interview-with-magnus-karlsson


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


EVA UNDER FIRE – “Love, Drugs & Misery” – Better Noise Music – 23rd Sept

“Love, Drugs & Misery” is the first album from Detroit band Eva Under Fire since they signed to Better Noise Music and it was released on 23rd September. It follows the independent release of three album / EPs by the band previously and the recent release of the EP “Blow”. Singer Eva was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 30th September when we played four tracks from the album.


The band has already had a load of airplay on the Show. The track “Heroin(e)” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in January 2021, whilst “Blow” featuring Spencer Charnas from Ice Nine Kills has already been played three times – in July 2021, again in January and then in June. The track “Unstoppable” featured in November 2021 and then again in March, May and August. Most recently, “Misery” was included on the Show on 16th September.


The new album was originally to be released in March, but this was pushed back to May before finally being released in September. Meanwhile, the EP “Blow” was released on 8th April and it included a cover of “Separate Ways” which had been included on the Show three times. The band also released a cover of Destiny Child’s “Survivor” alongside State of Mine in July.


Eva Under Fire formed in Detroit in 2015 and self-released an album called “Anchors” that same year. That was followed by a seven track EP called “War” in 2016 and another seven track EP called “Heavy on the Heart” in 2018. The band then signed to Better Noise Music and commenced work on what was to become “Love, Drugs & Misery”.


Eva Under Fire is vocalist Eva Marie, guitarists Rob Lyberg and Chris Slapnik, drummer Corey Newsome and bass player Ed Joseph.


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


KINGS OF MERCIA - “Kings of Mercia” – Metal Blade Records 23rd Sept

Metal Blade Records released the self-titled debut album from Kings of Mercia on 23rd September. As soon as I’d heard the first single and checked out who was in the band I had my sky blue marbled vinyl edition ordered! The track “Wrecking Ball” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 5th August, followed by “Liberate Me” on 26th August and “Humankind” on 30th September.


Kings of Mercia is fronted by Steve Overland from FM, Overland, Shadowman, Lonerider etc. The other very high profile member of the band is bass player Joey Vera from Armored Saint and Fates Warning. Those two are joined by Vera’s Fates Warning bandmate Jim Matheos on guitar and by drummer Simon Philips who has performed with numerous bands such as Toto Michael Schenker Group etc.


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


THE DEAD DAISIES – “Radiance” – SPV 30th Sept

“Radiance” is the sixth studio album from The Dead Daisies since they formed ten years ago, and their second with Glenn Hughes on vocals and bass. The album also sees the return of drummer Brian Tichy who was previously with the band briefly in 2013 and then again from 2015-17. The other members of the band are lead guitarist Doug Aldrich and founding member, rhythm guitarist David Lowy.


The title track was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in May, followed by “Shine On” in July and “Face Your Fear” on 16th September.


The Dead Daisies was formed by David Lowy in 2012 and is often referred to as a collective rather than a band as different members have rotated through. The band’s self-titled debut in 2013 featured Jon Stevens on vocals whilst the next three albums, released between 2015 and 2018, featured John Corabi on vocals. Other musicians who have been part of the band include guitarist Richard Fortus, keyboard player Dizzy Reed, bass player Marco Mendoza, drummers Frank Ferrer, Tommy Clufetos, Deen Castronovo etc.


Guitarist Doug Aldrich has been a guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show three times and twice since he joined The Dead Daisies in 2016. His most recent appearance was in 2020 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3721-ni-rocks-interview-with-doug-aldrich-revolution-saints-the-dead-daisies-etc


Website - https://thedeaddaisies.com/   


MITCHELL’S KISS OF THE GYPSY – “Unfinished Business” – MR Records 29th Sept

Tony Mitchell was the frontman for British band Kiss of the Gypsy when they released their excellent self-titled album back in 1992. Thirty years on from that Mitchell’s Kiss of the Gypsy have released an excellent new album called “Unfinished Business” through Australian label MR Records. Tony was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 21st October when we included three tracks from “Unfinished Business”



The original Kiss of the Gypsy was active from 1990 to 1993, releasing one album and a few singles. Mitchell went on to form his own music production company called XGypsy and has also fronted bands such as Kingdom of Dead Men and Boneyard Zombies. In 2017 he fronted Dirty White Boyz on the Escape Music release of “Down and Dirty” and the following year went on to release his first solo album “Beggar’s Gold”. That was followed by “Church of a Restless Soul” in 2020 and “Hot Endless Summer Nights” in 2021.


The other four members of the original Kiss of the Gypsy recently reformed the band with a new singer and released a new EP.


Tony’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/tmitchellofficial/


MONSTER TRUCK – “Warriors” – BMG 30th Sept

Canadian band Monster Truck released their fourth album “Warriors” on 30th September. This is their first album in four years and their first with BMG. The single “Golden Woman” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June followed by “Get My Things And Go” in August. Both those tracks and “Fuzz Mountain” featured on the Show on 23rd September alongside a special promo feature.


Monster Truck formed in 2009 and released their debut album “Furiosity” in 2013. They signed with the Mascot Label Group for the release of “Sittin’ Heavy” in 2016 and “True Rockers” in 2018. The band toured fairly extensively during that period and played Belfast in 2016 alongside Nickelback.


The band line-up has remained constant until March of this year when drummer Steve Kiely departed. The other three members have all been with the band since it formed – singer and bass player Jon Harvey, guitarist Jeremy Widerman and keyboard player Brandon Bliss.


Website - https://ilovemonstertruck.com/