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 Mammoth WVH, Sarayasign, Blindstone, Vandenberg, Hurricane and Romeo’s Daughter.


MAMMOTH WVH – “Mammoth II” – 4th August

“Mammoth II” is the second album to be released by Wolfgang Van Halen under the name Mammoth WVH and as on the first album, released in 2021, all the vocals and instruments are recorded by him. The album was released through BMG on 4th August and I had pre-ordered the canary yellow vinyl version. The Friday NI Rocks Show on 4th August included a special promo feature with WVH talking about the album alongside the tracks “Like A Pastime”, “Take A Bow” and “I’m Alright”. The first of those tracks has also featured on the Show in May, whilst the first single from the album, “Another Celebration at the End of the World” appeared on the Show in March.


Wolfgang is, of course, the son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and he spent 14 years touring and recording in Van Halen as a bass player between 2006 and 2020. During that time he also toured and recorded as a bass player with Tremonti, appearing on two albums. Work on the first Mammoth WVH had started in 2015 and had been recorded prior to the death of his father in October 2020. It was released in June 2021.


WVH has gathered some great musicians around him so that Mammoth WVH can tour and they have done so, extensively over the past few years. (We managed to catch them in Dublin supporting Motley Crue and Def Leppard). However, on both albums he has recorded everything himself.


Website - https://mammothwvh.com/





SARAYASIGN – “The Lion’s Road” - Frontiers 11th August

Swedish band Sarayasign released their second album, “The Lion’s Road”, through Frontiers Music on 11th August. The band had formed in 2020 and released their debut album, “Throne of Gold” on Melodic Passion Records in 2022. The track “Everdying Night” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 23rd June, followed by “When All The Lights Go Out” on 21st July.


The band has been described as “cinematic melodic hard rock” with each song telling a specific story. The tracks on the new album are directly connected to those on the debut album.


Sarayasign are singer Stefan Nykvist, drummer Jesper Lindbergh, bass player Daniel Lykkeklev and guitarist Peter Lundin.


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



BLINDSTONE – “Scars to Remember” – Mighty Music 11th August

“Scars to Remember" is the tenth album from Danish blues rock band Blindstone and it was released on 11th August. This is the band’s first release with Mighty Music; with the other albums being released through American label Grooveyard Records. The track “Waste Your Time” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 30th June, followed by “A Scar to Remember” in 28th July.


Blindstone formed in 2002 and released their debut album the following year. Their third album, “Rise Above”, released in 2010 was mastered by Kings X guitarist Ty Tabor, who also played on the album.

The band features forming members, guitarist / vocalist Martin Jepsen Andersen and bass player Jesper Vegeberg Bunk, alongside new drummer Sigurd Johnk-Jensen. The latter recently replaced Anders Hvidtfeldt who had joined just after the release of the band’s debut album.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Blindstone.official


VANDENBERG – “Sin” – Mascot Records 25th August

“Sin” is the latest album from Vandenberg and it was released on 25th August by Mascot Records – I had my signed, green vinyl copy pre-ordered! The band is, of course, centred around guitarist Adrian Vandenberg who was a member of Whitesnake from 1987-90 and 1994-1997. The first single from the new album, “House on Fire”, was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in March, with “Light It Up” featuring on 4th August.


The band Vandenberg had released three studio albums and a live album in the early 80’s before Adrian joined Whitesnake and a compilation album was released shortly after. Another compilation was released in 2004. When Adrian returned to recording after a lengthy break it was with a new project called Vandenberg’s MoonKings in 2014. Two further albums followed in 2017 and 2018. Vandenberg was resurrected in 2020 with the release of the album “2020”.


The ”2020” release featured Adrian Vandenberg on guitar, Ronnie Romero on vocals, Randy Van Der Elsen on bass and Koen Herfst on drums with guest appearances by Rudy Sarzo, Brian Tichy and others. The new album has Mats Leven in place of Romero on vocals.


Website - https://vandenbergband.com/



HURRICANE – “Reconnected” – Escape Music 25th August

Hurricane return with a new album, “Reconnected”, 22 years on from their previous release “Liquifury” in 2001. It was released on 25th August by Escape Music and I had pre-ordered one of the limited edition coloured vinyl versions. The track “Rockstar Cheater” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 1st September.


The current Hurricane line-up features two of the founding members; guitarist Robert Sarzo and bass player Tony Cavazo. They are joined by drummer Mike Hansen who has been with the band since 2010 and singer Daniel Schuman who joined in 2021. Former vocalist Chad Cancino provided backing vocals on the cover of “Under Pressure”.


Hurricane formed in 1983 with Sarzo, Cavazo, singer Kelly Hansen (now with Foreigner) and drummer Jay Schellen (currently with Yes). Those four recorded two albums together between 1985 and 1988 (“Take What You Want” and “Over The Edge”). Guitarist Doug Aldrich then replaced Sarzo from 1989-91 and played on the 1990 album “Slave to the Thrill”. The band was on hiatus between 1991 and 2000 when Kelly Hansen and Schellen reformed it for three years, releasing “Liquifury” in 2001, with a new guitarist and bass player. There was a further hiatus until 2010 when Sarzo and Cavato reformed the band with Mike Hansen on drums and initially Andrew Freeman on vocals. Freeman was followed by Jason Ames, Michael O’Mara and Chad Cancino prior to Schuman joining.


Website - https://hurricaneofficialrockband.com/



ROMEO’S DAUGHTER – “Slipstream” – RD Records 31st August

“Slipstream” is the fifth studio album from English band Romeo’s Daughter and their third since reforming in 2009. It was released through their own RD Records label on 31st August and I’d pre-ordered the signed CD. The track “Over You” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 25th August, followed by “Inseparable” on 1st September.


Romeo’s Daughter formed in 1985 and their self-titled debut album, which was co-produced by Mutt Lange and John Parr, was released in 1988. Whilst not hugely successful commercially the album produced a number of high profile singles and was very well received by fans. Their second album “Delectable” wasn’t released until 1993 and the band split in 1995.


In 2009 the band reformed and their third album “Rapture” was released in 2012, followed by a live album in 2014 and “Spin” in 2015. Singer Leigh Matty was a guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April 2015.


Vocalist Leigh Matty and guitarist Craig Joiner have been with the band since it’s formation. They are joined on “Slipstream” by bass player Steve Drennan and drummer Andy Wells. The latter has played on all but the first album.


2015 Interview - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/1935-ni-rocks-interview-with-leigh-matty-from-romeos-daughter


Website - http://romeosdaughter.co.uk/