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 includes albums from Tygers of Pan Tang, Burning Witches, Nighthawk, The Balladmongrels, Stormburst, Mystic Prophecy, Roadwolf, Sweet & Lynch, Devicious, Trespass and Koritni.


TYGERS OF PAN TANG – “Bloodlines” – Mighty Music 5th May

Over forty years ago, the Tygers of Pan Tang debut album “Wild Cat” was one of my earliest vinyl purchases. Now, their thirteenth studio album “Bloodlines” is one of my latest vinyl purchases – I had the red and black version pre-ordered. The album was released on 5th May through Mighty Music. The track “Edge of the World” has featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show twice (in Jan and Feb), as has “Fire on the Horizon (in March), “Back for Good” featured on the Show on 12th May.


Tygers of Pan Tang were at the heart of the NWOBHM movement, forming in 1978 and releasing their debut album “Wild Cat” in 1980. Five more albums were released with differing line-ups over the next seven years, including of course two with guitarist John Sykes. Original guitarist Robb Weir reformed the band in 2000 and they released six albums between 2001 and 2019.


There have been a few line-up changes since 2000, but drummer Craig Ellis has remained throughout and singer Jacopo ‘Jack’ Meille has been there since 2004. Guitarist Francesco Marras joined in 2020 and bass player Huw Holding in 2021.


There is an interview with Robb Weir on the Rock Radio NI website from back in 2012 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1098-ni-rocks-interview-with-robb-weir-tygers-of-pan-tang


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




BURNING WITCHES – “The Dark Tower” – Napalm Records 5th May

“The Dark Tower” is the fifth studio album from metal band Burning Witches and it was released on 5th May through Napalm Records. I had the blue and black marbled vinyl version pre-ordered. Singer Laura Guldemond was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 7th April and that interview was repeated on 5th May. Those Shows featured the tracks “The Dark Tower” and “Unleash the Beast” – the first track was also included on the Show on 26th February whilst the latter featured on 30th March and again on 28th April. The single “World of Fire” was also included alongside the interview on 5th May.


The interview can be read on the Rock Radio NI website and the Show is available on MixCloud - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3872-ni-rocks-interview-with-laura-guldemond-from-burning-witches


Burning Witches formed in Switzerland in 2015 and released their self-titled debut album in 2017. Three of the original members remain in the band – guitarist Romana Kalkuhl, drummer Lala Frischknecht and bass player Jeanine Grob. The original singer was Seraina Telli but she left in 2019 and was replaced by Laura Guldemond for the band’s third album “Dance with the Devil”. Larissa Ernst is the third lead guitarist to have been in the band, having joined in 2020. Just before the album was released it was announced that The Iron Maidens guitarist Courtney Cox would replace Larissa whilst she was on a maternity break.


Website - https://www.burningwitches.ch/




NIGHTHAWK – “Prowler” – Mighty Music 12th May

“Prowler” is the second album from Nighthawk and it was released on 12th May through Mighty Music. Whilst the first album featured a range of singers, this second album features an established band membership. The track “Running Wild” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in January, followed by “Free Your Mind” in February and the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Cover Me” on 19th May.


Nighthawk started as a solo project for Robert Majd, the bass player for Metalite and Captain Black Beard. The album “Midnight Hunter” was released in 2021. One of the singers on the album was Björn Strid and he has returned as the only vocalist on the new album “Prowler”. The other musicians are drummer Magnus Ulfstedt, keyboard player John Lönnmyr and bass player Christian Ek. As well as the cover of “Cover Me” the album includes a cover of the Kiss track “God of Thunder”.


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



THE BALLADMONGRELS – “Trouble” – Cargo Records 12th May

The Balladmongrels is a collaboration between Tyla J. Pallas from Dogs D’Amour and singer songwriter Matty J Cassidy. The latter hails from Northern Ireland and I recall seeing his band playing venues in Belfast several years ago. He subsequently moved to England and released some great solo stuff. He has toured as a support act for Tyla for quite a few years and also plays bass in Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour.  


Recording some tracks together seemed an obvious development and that has materialised as The Balladmongrels. Their debut album “Trouble” was released through Cargo Records on 12th May. I was a bit slow to pick up on the release, but the track “How The Beautiful Fall” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 2nd June. More will follow.


Website - https://balladmongrels.villainsmerch.com/



STORMBURST – “III” – Pride & Joy 19th May

“III” is, not surprisingly, the third album from Swedish band Stormburst and it was released on 19th May through Pride & Joy Records. The band formed in 2014 and released their debut album, “Raised To Rock” in 2017. That was followed by “Highway to Heaven” in 2020 and tracks from both have featured on the NI Rocks Shows. So far two tracks from the latest album have been included on the Friday NI Rocks Show – “When The Worlds Collide” on 5th May and “Get Up on Your Feet” on 2nd June.


Stormburst are singer Lars-Âke ‘Plåtis’ Nilsson, bass player Kent Jansson, guitarist Thomas Hansson, keyboard player Peter Östling and drummer Pelle Hindén. The first four have been with the band from the outset, whilst Hindén joined in 2019. The band’s first two albums were released through AOR Heaven.


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



MYSTIC PROPHECY – “Hellriot” – ROAR! 19th May

German band Mystic Prophecy released “Hellriot”, their twelfth studio album, through ROAR! Rock of Angels Records on 19th May. The band was formed by singer R.D. Liapakis in 2000 and featured guitarist Gus G in the line-up for the first three albums. The track “Demons of the Night” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 19th May, followed by “Hellriot” on 2nd June.


There have been quite a few line-up changes over the years and R.D. Liapakis is now the only founding member of the band remaining, however guitarist Markus Pohl has been with the band since 2005. The other band members are bass player Joey Roxx, guitarist Evan K (from Enemy Inside) and drummer Hanno Kerstan. Liapakis is also lead singer for the bands Devil’s Train and Steel Prophet.


Mystic Prophecy released their debut album “Vengeance” in 2001 and since then have released eleven more studio albums plus a compilation album and a boxset as well as a few Eps. Their last album, “Metal Division” in 2020 was their first with ROAR! and their tenth album, “Monuments Uncovered” from 2018 featured ten cover versions, including tracks by Donna Summer and Elton John!


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



ROADWOLF – “Midnight Lightning” – Napalm Records 19th May

“Midnight Lightning” is the second album from Austrian band Roadwolf but their first with Napalm Records and it was released on 19th May. The band has been around since 2011, releasing a few demos, singles and an EP prior to their first full length album in 2021. The track “Supernatural” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 21st April and “Midnight Lightning” was featured on 19th May.


Drummer Emanoel Bruckmüller and bass player Christoph Aigner have been in the band since the outset and they were joined by guitarist Valentin Strasser in 2012. Current singer Franz Bauer joined in 2016. The band’s first album, “Unchain The Wolf” was released in January 2021.


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



 SWEET & LYNCH – “Heart & Sacrifice” – Frontiers 19th May

Michael Sweet and George Lynch have reunited for their third album as Sweet & Lynch, with “Heart & Sacrifice” being released through Frontiers on 19th May. The two may seem unlikely collaborators but they have produced some great music together since their debut, “Only To Rise” in 2014. That was followed by “Unified” in 2017. Quite a few tracks from the first two albums have featured on the NI Rocks Shows, but so far the only track from the new album to feature on the Friday NI Rocks Show has been “You’ll Never Be Alone” on 31st March. That should be remedied soon!


Michael Sweet is of course best known as the frontman of Stryper, but he has also released a few solo albums and has been involved in other projects such as Sunbomb and Iconic. Guitarist George Lynch will be best known as a member of Dokken, but has of course been involved in numerous other projects such as Lynch Mob, Shadow Train, KXM, The End Machine, Dirty Shirley etc. Both Sweet and Lynch have been guests on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2015





In addition to Sweet and Lynch the new album features Alessandro Del Vecchio on bass and Jelly Cardarelli on drums. It was produced by Sweet and Del Vecchio.


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



DEVICIOUS – “Code Red” – Metalapolis 26th May

Since forming in 2016, German band DeVicious have released five studio albums; the latest being “Code Red” which was released through Metalapolis Records on 26th May. The track “Highway to the Stars” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in February, followed by “Are You Ready For Love” in April and “Madhouse” on 12th May.


DeVicious has undergone a few changes in frontman over the years, but the other band members have been constant throughout with Alex Frey on bass, Lars Nippa on drums, Radivoj Petrovic on guitar and Denis Kunz on keyboards. “Code Red” is the first album to feature Baol Bardot Bulsara on vocals. The band’s debut album, “Never Say Never” in 2018 and the follow-up, “Reflections” in 2019 featured Zoran Šandorov on vocals, whilst “Phase Three” in 2020 and “Black Heart” in 2022 featured Antonio Calanna.


Website - https://www.devicious.band/



TRESPASS – “Wolf at the Door” – From The Vaults 26th May

“Wolf at the Door” is the fourth album from English band and it was released through Danish label From The Vaults (part of Mighty Music) on 28th May. The track “Live Like A King” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April, followed by “Daggers Drawn” on 26th May.


Trespass emerged as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene around 1979 and released an EP and a couple of singles before splitting in 1982. They re-emerged briefly in the early 90’s to release a compilation album and then their first full length album, “Head”, in 1993. It wasn’t until 2014 that the band emerged again; releasing the album “Trespass” in 2015 and then “Footprints in the Rock” in 2018.


Singer and guitarist Mark Sutcliffe is the only surviving member of the original band. Guitarist Joe Fawcett and drummer Jason Roberts had joined Sutcliffe in the band for “Footprints in the Rock” whilst bass player Wil Wilmot joined in 2020.


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



KORITNI – “Long Overdue” – Verycords 26th May

Koritni is an Australian band which is fronted by Lex Koritni and their latest album, “Long Overdue” was released by Verycords Records on 26th May. Promotion of the album in most of Europe is being handled by Germusica and they thankfully sent it to me. Unfortunately, I was a bit slow checking my e-mails so the first track to make it on to the Friday NI Rocks Show will be “No Strings Attached” on 9th June.


Lex Koritni previously fronted a band called Green Dollar Colour and he formed Koritni in 2006 along with guitarists Eddy Santacreu and Luke Cuerden, drummer Chris Brown and bass player Dean Matt Hunter. That line-up released the studio albums “Lady Luck” in 2007, “Game of Fools” in 2009, “Welcome to the Corssroads” in 2012, “Night Goes on For Days” in 2015 and “Rolling” in 2018. There was also a covers / acoustic album called “No More Bets” in 2010 and a couple of live album. When Koritni moved to France a few years ago he reformed the band with Tom Fremont on guitar, Daniel Fasano on drums and Mathieu Albiac on bass.


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