Anyone who knows their European melodic rock will recognise the name Michael Bormann, he served as the vocalist of Jaded Heart from 1990 until 2004 when they parted ways. Since then he has been a part of numerous bands but his fanbase have always been very vocal about him reviving the songs and style of his time with Jaded Heart. Since 2017 he has been touring playing just Jaded Heart material from 1990 and 2004 with his new band Jaded Hard (yes I know). He has now gone one step further making this album obviously titled Feels Like Yesterday, full of bouncy AOR anthems and saccharine ballads that sound like his Jaded Heart glory days. Vocally he is still on top form having that ideal melodic rock grittiness mixed with some soulful crooning, it’s all a bit Jovi (if he was German) especially on the anthemic Won’t Surrender. Now melodic rock/AOR, especially from the early 90’s can be a bit naff now and again but Bormann has been doing this so long he has managed to capture what made it so impressive back then, mixing things up with songs like fist pumping Bring Me Higher Love (which isn’t a re-working of the Steve Winwood classic) and the rocky One More Step Away. Basically if you like ‘classic’ Jaded Heart then you’ll like Jaded Hard (it’s pretty simple). 7/10
Demonhead: Black Devil Lies (Self Released) [Paul Hutchings]
Heavy metal the old-style way is the order of the day with this 40-minute sophomore album from Melbourne outfit Demonhead. Black Devil Lies follows their debut release Bring on the Doom (2015). The band features Anthony Mavrikis who also featured on Envenomed’s The Walking Shred which I reviewed in August. Demonhead's music is solid if unspectacular. Elements of thrash surface from time to time but this is overwhelmingly thumping heavy metal, full of chunky riffs, screaming solos and confident song compositions. There is little here to genuinely excite but there is also absolutely nothing which disturbs or upsets me either. Overall, Black Devil Lies is a compact and competent album and perfectly enjoyable. The rhythm section is tight whilst guitarists Rue Power and Dave Lowes bring the shred. It’s not going to threaten my top 50 this year but I certainly managed to get through it a couple of times without any worries. If you like your metal mixing Helloween with Maiden and a bit of Saxon and Diamond Head thrown in for good measure, this hybrid offering may be one to try. 6/10
Metalite: Biomechanicals (AFM Records) [Matt Bladen]
Do you like Amaranthe? If the answer is yes then you will love their fellow Swedes Metalife. Yes folks its more melodic power metal built around Euro-dance synths, however this does a bit of grunt to it musically, the riffs are a bit heavier than normal and new vocalist Erica Ohlsson has a more powerful, less pop orientated voice than many of the bands of this style. I’d say there was a bit more of Dragonforce to this album especially in the rampaging drumming of Lea Larsson along with the more modern flavours of Within Temptation. The band have dealt with more mature themes lyrically as Biomechanicals deals with how we are now so attached to technology that it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s artificial.
No problem about that on this record though as you can clearly hear the difference between the electronic bleeps/massive synth walls and the more traditional metal instruments, twin guitar harmonies bring tough riffs and epic solos while I can’t praise the vocal enough. It’s a clear step up in the evolution for the band since their last release and they sound like they are ready to take on the world, I may have been a facetious in my opening line as yes Amaranthe fans will love this but Metalite have a broader appeal, heavy and melodic enough for all it could be their time to break away from pack with this excellent second album. 8/10
Event Relentless: Circle (Wormholedeath) [Matt Bladen]
Having signed to Wormholedeath records Finnish melo-death band Event Relentless release their debut full length after three EP’s. Starting out with Stay Away they have actually probably picked the worst track on the album for the opener, it highlights the disparity between the growls and clean, with its repetitive chorus as does the closing title track. The rest of the album is straight down the middle melo-death with a bit of groove thrown in, it’s pretty much a Children Of Bodom clone as some keys and orchestrations creep in. Pleasure & Pain is the song that most like Alexi and co. There’s not a lot else to say, if you like COB then you’ll get a kick out of it if not avoid it as this is about as generic as it gets. 4/10