OZ - FORCED COMMANDMENTS (Massacre Records) - release date 5/22
In the 1980's OZ used to scare me, mostly from their adds in music magazines. Now, in 2020 they don't scare me at all! In fact, their new album, FORCED COMMANDMENTS is an album that should be on every metal fan's radar! Not only is it heavy and aggressive, but it is very technical, dare I say, almost progressive? The first single Prison Of Time has an old school Iron Maiden feel to it and is very representative of what the rest of the album sounds like. But my favorite song on the disc is the Accept inspired Switchblade Alley, because... WOW!!!! OZ is Vince Koivula (vocals), Juzzy Kangas & Johnny Cross (guitars), Peppi Peltola (bass) and Mark Ruffneck (drums) and I hope the boys are proud of this one!!!! 8 out of 10, because i'm not scared anymore!
Axel Rudy Pell - SIGN OF THE TIMES (Steamhammer/SPV) - release date 5/8
It is hard to imagine that SIGN OF THE TIMES is Pell's 18th album and this could be his/the band's best! Featuring 10 songs that showcase the guitarists amazing skills, and this is important, not at the expense of the songs or the other players. Although his solos are amazing (just listen to Gunfire and Living In A Dream), Pell lets the songs breathe and doesn't use them as a place to just dump a solo. With amazing vocals from Johnny Gioeli (Hardline), the band is rounded out with Ferdy Doemberg (keyboards), Volker Krawczak (bass) and Bobby Rondinelli (drums). if you have never listened to Axel Rudi Pell before let SIGN OF THE TIMES be your gateway in... you will thank me! 7.5 out of 10!!!!
Darker Half - IF YOU ONLY KNEW (Massacre Records) - released March 27th
Knowing nothing about Darker Half, except they are from Australia and i missed their first three albums. It is hard to describe the band because Vo Simpson (vocals/guitars), Dom Simpson (drums), Simon Hamilton (bass) and Daniel Packovski (guitar) play it close to so many metal genres without committing or being pigeonholed to one. The are fast and in your face on tracks like This Ain't Over and Glass Coloured Rose but then play it somewhat melodic on Into The Shadows. Despite the melody and nice backing vocals, the album has a real dark side to it... and that makes it even cooler! 7 out of 10!!!
One Desire - MIDNIGHT EMPIRE (Frontiers s.r.l.) - release date May 22
They are an easy listen, One Desire is another amazing band from Finland that realty has captured the magic of melodic rock! Like Foreigner, Night Ranger, Giuffria, Europe and so many of the sub genre, One Desire have incredible songs full of hooks and great backing vocals. The first three singles, After You're Gone, Shadowman and Heroes brought me back to a simpler time in life, when music was meant to be fun with no strings attached. The band; Jimmy Westerlund (guitars), André Linman (vocals/guitar), Ossi Sivula (drums) and Jonas Kuhlberg (bass) really know how to make music that is just perfect for the ears and the soul! 8 out of 10!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.