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 Firewind, Eclipse, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Stitched Up Heart, Vega, Blackbird Angels, Street Fighter, Danko Jones, Ronnie Romero, Rocket Love, King Herd, Warwolf, Dead Man’s Whiskey, Dead Addiction, Black Stone Cherry, Jelusick and KK’s Priest.


FIREWIND – “Still Raging” – AFM Records 1st Sept

I don’t often include live albums in the Recommendations, but this one is definitely worth featuring. “Still Raging” is the new live album from Firewind and it was released on 1st September through AFM Records. The track “Orbitual Sunrise” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June, followed by “Maniac” in July, “Mercenary Man” on 18th August and “Ode to Leonidas” on 8th Sept.


Firewind originally formed in 1998 and released a demo before founder and guitarist Gus G moved on to other projects. A new line-up emerged in 2002 and their first full album was released the same year. Another six studio albums and two live albums were released between 2003 and 2013; with the band continuing to record even whilst Gus G was performing with Ozzy Osbourne from 2009 to 2017. A short hiatus for Firewind from 2013 to 2017 was due to Gus G recording his first solo albums. Firewind returned with the album “Immortals” in 2017 and “Fireland” in 2020. Gus G was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April 2020 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3749-ni-rocks-interview-with-gus-g


There have been a number of line-up changes over the years, but bass player Petros Christodoulidis has been with the band since 2003 and drummer Johan Nunez since 2011. There have been a few different vocalists, but Herbie Langhans replaced Henning Basse in 2020. The live album was recorded at a 20th Anniversary Show in Thessaloniki in 2022.


Website - https://firewind.gr/




ECLIPSE – “Megalomanium” – Frontiers 1st Sept

Swedish band Eclipse released their ninth studio album, “Megalomanium”, through Frontiers Music on 1st September. The track “The Hardest Part is Losing You” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June, followed by “Hearts Collide” and “Got It” in July and “Anthem” on 1st Sept.


Eclipse formed in 1999 and released their debut album “The Truth and a Little More” in 2001. The moved to Frontiers Records for the release of “Second to None” in 2004 and have continued that relationship now for a further 7 studio albums and a live album.


Two of the band’s founding members remain – vocalist and guitarist Erik Mårtensson and guitarist Magnus Henriksson. They are joined by Philip Crusner on drums and Victor Crusner on bass. Mårtensson has also performed with W.E.T., Ammunition and Nordic Union over the past few years.

Erik Mårtensson was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in November 2020 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3792-ni-rocks-interview-with-erik-martensson-from-eclipse


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




PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS – “Kings of the Asylum” – Nuclear Blast 1st Sept

Phil Campbell will be best known as the guitarist for Motörhead for over thirty years, but he has released some great albums since the demise of that band in 2015. “Kings of the Asylum” is the third full length studio album from Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons and it was released on 1st Sept by Nuclear Blast Records. The track “Hammer and Dance” appeared on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 28th July and “Strike the Match” on 1st Sept.


After playing with Persian Risk in the early 80’s, guitarist Phil Campbell joined Motörhead in 1984 and he remained with the band until the death of Lemmy in 2015. The following year Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons released a self-titled EP and in 2018 their debut album, “The Age of Absurdity” appeared.


The band initially featured Phil and his three sons – Todd on guitar, Tyla on bass and Dane on drums – along with vocalist Neil Starr.  A second album was released in 2020 before current vocalist Joel Peters was recruited and a live album was released in 2023. Phil Campbell also released a proper solo album, “Old Lions Still Roar”, in 2019.


Website - https://www.philcampbell.net/




STITCHED UP HEART – “To The Wolves” – Another Century 1st Sept

“To The Wolves” is the third album from LA based band Stitched Up Heart and it was released on 1st September by Another Century. The title track was the lead single and it was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in May and June. The track “Possess Me” was then included on the Show in July, followed by “Conquer and Divide” on 1st Sept.


Stitched Up Heart was formed by singer and guitarist Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner in 2010 and the band went through many line up changes in the first few years. The four current members were all in place by 2014 – Mixi on vocals and rhythm guitar, James Decker on drums, Merritt Goodwin on lead guitar and Randy Mathias on bass. The band broke through the following year after signing with Another Century and releasing the single “Forever Free”. That track has featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show ten times since it’s release.


The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2016 and Mixi and Decker were guests on the show shortly after - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/2788-ni-rocks-interview-with-mixi-a-decker-from-stitched-up-heart . The second album, “Darkness”, was released in 2020.


Website - https://stitchedupheart.org/



VEGA – “Battlelines” – Frontiers 8th Sept

“Battlelines” is the eighth studio album from English band Vega, but their first since the departure of two of the founding members of the band in 2022. Vega have worked with Frontiers Records for seven of their eight albums including the latest one which was released on 8th September. The track “Love to Hate You” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June, followed by “Battlelines” in July and “Heroes and Zeroes” on 29th Sept.


Vega formed in 2009 and the current line-up includes two of the founding members – singe Nick Workman and guitarist Marcus Thurston. Two other founding members, brothers James and Tom Martin, left the band during 2022. The full line-up now also features Pete Newdeck on drums, Mart Trail on bass and Billy Taylor on guitar.


The band released their debut album with Frontiers in 2010 before moving to Spinefarm for one album in 2013. Nick Workman was my guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2014 when Vega released their third album, and he and Marcus recorded another interview in Belfast when they were supporting Magnum just after the release of their fourth album in May 2016 -



Website - https://www.vegaofficial.co.uk/



BLACKBIRD ANGELS – “Solsorte” – Frontiers 8th Sept

“Solsorte” is the debut album from a new music project featuring Tracii Guns and Todd Kerns and it was released by Frontiers Records on 8th September. The tarck “Shut Up (You Know I love You)” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in July, followed by “Coming In Hot” on 25th August.


L.A Guns guitarist Tracii Guns has said that he and Slash bass player Todd Kerns had wanted to work on a record for about ten years. The outcome of that was Blackbird Angels which also features drummer Adam Hamilton.


Tracii was a guest on the Friday NI Rocks Show back in 2015 - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/2196-ni-rocks-interview-with-tracii-guns



STREET FIGHTER – “Second Hand Hero” – From The Vaults 8th Sept

“Second Hand Hero” is the debut album from Danish band Street Fighter and it was released on 8th September via the From the Vaults label (part of the Target group). The first single “Queen of the Night” appeared on the Friday NI Rocks Show track back in March 2022, whilst “Deadend City” and “Devil in Disguise” featured in July 2023 and “Black Poison” on 11th August.


Street Fighter was formed by producer and multi-instrumentalist Marco Angioni and he plays much of the guitars, keyboards, bass and drums on the album. His band mates in Meridian however also assist, with Klaus Agerbo on drums and Peter Brunn on bass. Most of the vocals are provided by Steffan Jensen from Exelerate with Sofia Schmidt from Ethereal Kingdoms providing backing vocals. There are also a number of guest appearances, including Diamond Head singer Rasmus Bom Andersen, guitarist Soren Andersen and Tainted Lady frontman Michael Catton.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Street.Fighter.DK



DANKO JONES – “Electric Sounds” – AFM Records 15th Sept

Canadian band Danko Jones released their eleventh studio album, “Electric Sounds”, through AFM Records on 15th Sept. The track “Guess Who’s Back” appeared on the Friday NI Rocks Show in April, followed by “Good Time” in June and there was a special promo feature on the Show on 15th Sept that included Danko Jones talking about the album as well as the tracks “Get High” and “Shake Your City”.


Danko Jones formed in Toronto in 1996 and released their debut album in 2002. Since then they have, on average, released a new album every two years, whilst touring extensively through N America and Europe.


Vocalist and singer Danko Jones and bass player John Calabrese have been with the band since the outset. There has been a number of different drummers during the bands early years, but Rich Knox has now been in position since 2013.


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



RONNIE ROMERO – “Too Many Lies, Too Many Masters” – Frontiers 15th Sept

Over the past ten years Chilean singer Ronnie Romero has been one of the most prolific recording artists and he is undoubtedly one of the best of the newer generation of frontmen. Having recorded with numerous artists and released a couple of covers albums he has now finally released his first solo album of original recordings. “Too Many Lies, Too Many Masters” was released through Frontiers Music on 15th Sept. The track “Castaway on the Moon” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in July, followed by “Chased By Shadows” on 25th August.


Ronnie Romero’s first album release was the self titled Lords of Black album in 2014. Since then he has released albums with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, The Ferrymen, Core Leoni, Michael Schenker Fest, Vandenberg, Sunstorm, Electric Weapons etc. Solo covers albums were released in 2022 and 2023.


Romero is joined on the album by drummer Andy C, guitarists Jose Rubio and Javier Garcia and keyboard player Fransisco Gil.


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



ROCKETT LOVE – “Galactic Circus” – Pride and Joy 22nd Sept

“Galactic Circus” is the third album from Swedish band Rockett Love and it was released on 22nd September through Pride and Joy Records. The track “Never Look Back” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 8th Sept followed by “Too Much Water Under The Bridge” on 6th Oct.


Rockett Love formed in 2015 and released their debut album, “Grab the Rocket” in 2017. That was followed by “Greetings From Rocketland” in 2019. The band features Daniel Samuelsson on vocals, Stefan Westerlund and Gustaf Eklund on guitars, Dennis Vestman on bass and Fredrik Ahlin on drums.  


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



KING HERD – “King Herd” – 22nd Sept

English band King Herd released their self-titled debut album on 22nd September. The track “Halo” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 15th Sept whilst “Somebody Else” appeared on 6th Oct.


The band formed in Birmingham during 2020 and in 2022 released a few singles which were picked up by Planet Rock. The album was produced by Sam Miler who has previously worked with The Temperance Movement and it was shared with us by Duff Press.


King Herd is Dave Taylor on vocals, Tom Longworth on guitar, Karl Brazil on drums and Ray Loverock on bass.


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



WARWOLF – “The Apocalyptic Waltz” – Metalapolis 29th Sept

“The Apocalyptic Waltz” is the second album from German band WarWolf and it was released on 29th September by Metalapolis Records. However, the band was previously known as Wolfen for over 25 years and releases six studio albums during that time. Indeed, “Apocalyptic Waltz” was actually the name of one of the band’s demo tracks in 1999. The WarWolf track “Flying Dutchman” was featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 11th Aug and “Legacy of Salem” on 6th Oct.


WarWolf emerged in 2021 and released the album “Necropolis” the following year. Initially, four of the five band members had been part of Wolfen – singer Andreas von Lipinski, guitarists Frank J Noras and Björn Grüne and drummer Holger Bloempott. The exception was bass player Florian Abegg. In 2022, after the release of “Necropolis”, Peter Müller replaced Grüne.


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



DEAD MAN’S WHISKEY – “In The Storm” - 29th Sept

London based band Dead Man’s Whiskey released their second album, “In The Storm” independently on 29th September. The track “Do or Die” opened the Friday NI Rocks Show on 15th Sept and “Ravens Call” was included on the Show on 6th Oct.


The band formed in 2016 and self-released a seven track album called “Under The Gun” the following year. This was remastered and re-released by McCall Records in 2019 with three additional tracks.


Dead Man’s Whiskey is Nico Rogers on vocals, Billy Kons and Elliott D'Alvarez on guitar, James Titley on bass and Charlie Gray on drums.


Website - https://deadmanswhiskey.co.uk/



DEAD ADDICTION – “Of Vice and Men” - 29th Sept

Local band Dead Addiction officially released their debut album “Of Vice and Men” on 29th September. The album is a concept album set in the fictional city of San Vector. The release had been long delayed, with the covid pandemic being one of the main factors.


The lead off single from the album, “Live at the Scene of the Crime” was released in May 2018 and featured twice on the Friday NI Rocks Show in 2019. The next single “Chaos” was released in 2020 and featured on the Show three times that year and again in 2022 and most recently on 1st Sept. The third single, “Blood Money”, was released later in 2020 and been featured on the Show three times since, most recently in June. Since the release of the album, “Not Alone” was included on the Show on 22nd Sept and “Tip of the Blade” on 6th Oct.


Some of the Dead Addiction members will be familiar to local rock fans as they have played in other bands over the past few years. They are Joe Murphy on vocals, Ciaran Lyttle and Chris Van Engelen on guitars, Danny Haughey on bass and Stephen Engelen on drums.


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




BLACK STONE CHERRY – “Screamin’ at the Sky” – Mascot Records 29th Sept

“Screamin' at the Sky” is the eighth studio album from Black Stone Cherry and it was released on 29th Sept by Mascot Records. An album so good that I bought it three times – the blue vinyl HMV exclusive, the white vinyl version from Mascot and the digital download from Mascot that features a few bonus tracks.


The Friday NI Rocks Show on 22nd Sept included a promo feature with guitarist Ben Wells chatting about the new album as well as the tracks “Smile, World”, “Nervous” and “Screamin’ at the Sky”. All three tracks has featured on the Show previously – “Smile, World” on 1st Sept, “Nervous” in May and the title track in July. In addition, the first single, “Out of Pocket” had been played in January and again on 15th Sept; and the latest single “When the Pain Comes” had featured on 29th Sept.


Black Stone Cherry formed in Kentucky in 2001 and released their self-titled debut album in 2006. The original lineup featuring Chris Robertson on vocals and guitar, Ben Wells on guitar, John Fred Yong on drums and Jon Lawhon on bass remained unchanged for twenty years and recorded seven studio albums together. In 2021, Steve Jewell Jr replaced Jon on bass, and “Screamin’ at the Sky” is his first album with the band.


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



JELUSICK – “Follow The Blind Man” – Escape Music 29th Sept

Dino Jelusick is one of the best of the new generation of rock vocalists and his band Jelusick released their debut album, “Follow The Blind Man” through Escape Music on 29th Sept. I had my grey marbled vinyl version pre-ordered. The track “Reign of Vultures” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in March, followed by “Fly High Again” in May, “The Great Divide” in July and “Chaos Master” on 29th Sept. Those first two tracks were also played on the NI Rocks A-Z Show during September.


Dino has worked with many high profile figures in the rock scene, touring with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, touring Europe with Whitesnake, standing in for Glenn Hughes in The Dead Daisies etc. He has collaborated with Tony Hernando from Lords of Black on the “Restless Spirit” album, with George Lynch on the “Dirty Shirley” album and with Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall on the ”We Are the Night Album”. Prior to Jelusick he has fronted a few bands including Stone Leaders, Ralph and Animal Drive. The latter was his main focus for some time and Dino did an interview for us in 2018 just after the release of the album “Bite!” - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/interviews/3328-ni-rocks-interview-with-dino-jelusic-from-animal-drive


The Jelusick line-up features Dino on vocals and keyboards, Ivan Keller on guitar, Luka Briderick on bass and Mario Lepoglavec on drums. Keller had also been in Animal Drive.


Website - https://dino-jelusick.com/  / https://jelusick.com/



KK’S PRIEST – “The Sinner Rides Again” – Napalm Records 29th Sept

“The Sinner Rides Again” is the second album from KK’s Priest and it was released on 29th Sept by Napalm Records. The band features former Judas Priest members, singer Tim “Ripper” Owens and guitarist KK Downing. The track “One More Shot at Glory” featured on the Friday NI Rocks Show in June, followed by “Reap The Whirlwind” in July, “Strike of the Viper” on 1st Sept and “Hymm 66” on 29th Sept.


About ten years after departing from Judas Priest, guitarist KK Downing returned with KK’s Priest, recruiting former Judas Priest frontman Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, guitarist A.J. Mills, bass player Tony Newton and drummer Sean Elg. Their released their debut album, “Sermons of the Sinner” in 2021.


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