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AOR - Melodic Rock - Westcoast

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News June 10th 2014

RIK PRIEM’s PRIME present “Babylon Rising”, the first video taken from their brand new debut album

Belgian guitar player Rik Priem and his high profile band have completed the work on their debut video for the stomping Heavy Rocker “Babylon Rising”. The song is taken from the bands self-titled debut album, which was released on May 23rd 2014 on CD and as digital download through Avenue Of Allies.

Rik invited his band mates Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz (lead vocals), Vincent De Laat (bass), Geert Margodt (keyboards) and Rami Ali (drums) to his home country Belgium, where the video was shot at the B52 Club in Eernegem in May 2014 with the help of Andy Maelstaf, Daniel Winne and Steve Claeys.

 

The album which was produced by Steffen Seeger (Iain Ashley Hersey, Midnite Club) and mixed and mastered by Rolf Munkes (Dead End Heroes, Empire, Razorback, Tony Martin) continues to receive great feedback from the international media around the world:

AOR Heaven (GER): “A well done affair for 80s metal lovers”
Danger Dog (USA): “Solid mixture of classic hard rock and metal with a touch of the neo-classical”
Power OF Metal (DK): “The quality level is way above average…One of the strongest debut albums I've heard this year…”
Rock Report (BE): “Energetic heavy rock full of hooks from Priem and great vocals from Schulz”
Metal Temple (IL): “Sincere recommendation if you are a true fan of Melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal… Satisfaction guaranteed!”
Metal Underground (AUT): “With a lot of originality the band has created a very convincing masterpiece”
The Mayfair Mall Zine (UK): “Priem is a great guitar player, but unlike some guitarists, he doesn’t hog the limelight. This release is more along the Axel Rudi Pell guitar driven albums rather than say a Malmsteen, great stuff!”
Spirit Of Metal (F): “If you want killer riffs, pounding rhythms, intelligent and solid compositions combined with catchy hooks, then the 13 songs from Rik Priem’s Prime are for you”

News - April 25th 2014

RIK PRIEM's PRIME debut album available in May

 

The debut album of RIK PRIEM’S PRIME will be released through Avenue Of Allies on May 23rd 2014. Several familiar names of the international Hard and Heavy scene were involved in the recording and the production process of guitar player Rik Priem’s band project. The German musicians Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz (Dead End Heroes, Frozen Rain, Lavalle, Evidence One, Midnite Club) on lead vocals and Rami Ali (Freedom Call, Iron Mask, Lavalle, Frontline, Evidence One) on drums are well known faces in the recording studio and on stages around the world. Rik first met Carsten during the making of the second Frozen Rain album “Ahead Of Time”.
The band is completed by bass player Vincent De Laat, who also participated in the Frozen Rain sessions and Rik’s long time friend Geert Margodt on keyboards.
Producer Steffen Seeger (Iain Ashley Hersey, Midnite Club) oversaw the sessions, before the finishing touches to the album were put on the recordings in the German Empire Studios by Rolf Munkes (Dead End Heroes, Empire, Razorback, Tony Martin), who handled the mix and the mastering of the tracks.

                                       

                                                

Reading the names of everyone involved in RIK PRIEM’S PRIME it becomes obvious what to expect from the record, a hard rockin’ slice of energetic Heavy Rock. The breath taking musical performances of each musician combined with Carsten’s vocals on each song of the album, except for the instrumental “Chameleon”, will attract any fan and follower of the previous and current bands and projects of the participating musicians to RIK PRIEM’S PRIME.
 
Rik Priem’s musical history started with a bass guitar when he was 14, among the bands he discovered during his teen years were Rock and Punk icons like Deep Purple, Kiss, AC / DC, Dead Kennedys and the Sex Pistols. At the dawn of the 80s Judas Priest’s “British Steel” album left a lasting impression on young Rik and when he heard the music of Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Dokken and Iron Maiden, he knew that he wanted an electric guitar and an amplifier. His parents granted him the  wish and Rik’s Hard Rock infection made him practice on the guitar for hours almost every day.

Over the years Rik’s curiosity to explore music led him to listen to a variety of styles ranging from his Hard Rock roots to Blues and from Fusion to classical pieces. His passion for the guitar grew even stronger with the years and he developed his own technique to play the instrument. Joining a band and composing original music seemed like a natural move for Rik, so he began writing instrumental songs and playing with various local bands.
In 2000, after years of working on his skills in playing, tuning and repairing guitars, Rik finally decided to make a living out of his love for the guitar and became a professional guitar teacher and guitar technician.

The band experiences however didn’t meet Rik’s expectations on many levels and besides a few instrumentals on compilation albums his playing wasn’t heard on a CD until he joined Kurt Vereecke’s Melodic Rock project Frozen Rain in 2008 . The album “Ahead Of Time”, on which Rik also co-wrote five songs, eventually came out in the spring of 2012.

Being a member of Frozen Rain was not only the starting point for a further co-operation with Carsten, who was the vital spark for RIK PRIEM’S PRIME as a band project, but it also opened the door to work on the debut of the Swedish AOR band Sapphire Eyes as a guest musician.

In support of the release of RIK PRIEM’S PRIME the band members are now gearing up to shoot a  video for the stomping Heavy Rocker “Babylon Rising” and to bring the songs to the live stage.

Please click the logo below for RIK PRIEM'S PRIME soundbytes.

News - April 28th 2014

PERFECT VIEW will be back in May with "Red Moon Rising"

Perfect View - Red Moon Rising

The Italian Melodic Rock band PERFECT VIEW will release their second album “Red Moon Rising” on May 23rd 2014 through Avenue Of Allies. Almost four years have passed since the five-piece from Modena released their acclaimed debut album “Hold Your Dreams” in the fall of 2010 and the development of the band since then is nothing short of impressive. While the first record was a very good sounding and solid effort, it still tested the waters of a variety of Hard and Heavy genres, from AOR to Progressive Hard Rock. The songs on “Red Moon Rising” are now very focused and it’s clear that Melodic Rock with a slightly harder edge is what the band does best. As expected the songs are again on a consistently high level regarding the song writing, the arrangements and the flawless performance of each band member.

PERFECT VIEW was founded in 2008 by singer Max Ordine, guitar player Francesco Cataldo and drummer Luca Ferraresi. Their idea for the musical direction of the band was to combine elements of first class AOR and Melodic Rock in the vein of Toto, Winger and Journey with some harder moments à la Van Halen and Lynch Mob and to add an occasional progressive touch to the sound. The line-up for “Hold Your Dreams” was completed by Cristian Guerzoni on bass and Pier Mazzini on keyboards.

Prior to being a part of PERFECT VIEW the guys in the band have shown their musical talents on the stage, as well as in the studio when they were working with established artists and bands like Olaf Thorsen (Vision Divine, Labyrinth), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), Alex DeRosso (Dokken, Dark Lord) and the very successful Kiss tribute band Electric Circus. Max and Francesco were also members of the band Xteria, a predecessor of PERFECT VIEW. Xteria recorded one album called "Outshine" in 2000 and they opened for the American Progressive Metal band Symphony X that same year.

Since the release of their debut album the band shot a video for the title track of “Hold Your Dreams” and they also played a number of live shows, including an opening gig for Harem Scarem. In early 2012 Cristian left the band for personal reasons, he was replaced by Frank Paulis, an old road dog, who also took over various tasks on the band’s business side.

The work on the songs for “Red Moon Rising” was again a collective effort with contributions coming from each musician, in addition to their own compositions the guys added Toto’s epic “Home Of The Brave” to the album’s tracklist. The recording sessions started in May 2013, with the tracks eventually being engineered and mixed in November by Roberto Priori (Danger Zone, Wheels Of Fire, Los Angeles) at his PriStudios in Bologna, Italy, together with Pier Mazzini.
Some of the band’s musical friends make guest appearances on the album, Michele Luppi (Secret Sphere, Los Angeles, ex-Vision Divine) sings background and harmony vocals on the Melodic Rock anthem "By My Side" and Giacomo Gigantelli (Danger Zone) contributed to the background vocals on "Slave To The Empire".

PERFECT VIEW have already scheduled some concerts and festival gigs for 2014 and the band will support the release of “Red Moon Rising” with special activities for the fans and of course with more live dates.

Please click the logo below for PERFECT VIEW soundbytes.

 

News - April 21st 2014 

SONIC STATION's new album "Next Stop" arriving in May 2014

On May 23rd 2014 Avenue Of Allies will release "Next Stop", the much anticipated second album by the Swedish AOR band SONIC STATION. One month before the album the digital single "Amelia”  will be available on April 18th 2014, accompanied by a music video for the track.

While perfect arrangements and production values of the highest order are still a trademark of the songs of guitarist, composer and producer Alexander Kronbrink and his band, the music is now focusing on the AOR side of SONIC STATION. The powerful tunes have a more upbeat feeling and give more room to the guitars and with most of the musicians performing on all songs, the recordings carry the spirit of a real band performance rather than having the nature of a high profile studio project like the self-titled debut from 2012.  

Alexander was brought up in a musical home in Stockholm, Sweden, where one of his friends in the neighborhood was Jonathan Fritzén, who played keyboards and the piano. Together they had jam sessions fooling around with jazz harmonies and even trying out some of their own compositions. Today Jonathan is a star in the Smooth Jazz genre with several number 1 hits on the US Billboard charts to his name. Jonathan appears on all SONIC STATION albums, as does Alexander on Jonathan’s solo records.
Like most teenagers Alexander was venturing into several musical genres, before a friend of his father’s introduced him to the music of American guitarist Lee Ritenour, this listening experience  paved the way for Alexander's own playing. Subsequently he discovered the music of some of the most influential artists of the US AOR and Westcoast genres like Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins and Toto, as well as songwriter and producer David Foster and listened to guitarists like Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau and Dann Huff.

Eventually in his early twenties Alexander decided to dedicate himself completely to music. While studying music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he met his now long time musical partner in crime, singer and piano player Marika Willstedt.  
In her home country Sweden, Marika became a household name after appearing for several seasons on a popular national TV show during prime time. In addition to her work with SONIC STATION as a singer and song writer, she is also a renowned session musician and artist in her own right.
Marika recommended the most significant new addition regarding the album's personal, lead vocalist Johan Boding. After she and Johan toured together with the legendary Swedish session guitarist Janne Schaffer in 2012, Marika immediately saw Johan as the perfect lead singer for SONIC STATION and he gladly accepted the invitation. When he and Alexander started doing demos for the new album they were both very excited by the magical mix of Johan's marvelous voice and Alexander's music. As a result Johan is singing eight of eleven songs on the new album “Next Stop”, while Marika took over the lead vocals on the remaining three songs.“Next Stop” was recorded between February and November 2013, with Alexander playing guitar and synthesizers and taking over the production duties and handling the mix. The drums on all tracks are played by Thorleif Robertsson and the keyboards by Jonathan Fritzén. Erik Metall laid down the bass on all songs, except on “Catch Me If You Can” and “Fool For Your Love”, where Mathias Garnås, who also co-wrote these songs together with Alexander, took over the bass parts.  
Musical guest contributions come from Arvid Svenungsson with additional synthesizers on “Stopped Beating”, Andreas Ekstedt added another component that makes the album come alive by playing percussions and violinist Conny Lindgren wrote and performed, the violin arrangements for the three ballads “Fool For Your Love”, “Broken Man” and “Hide And Seek”.
The co-writers Matilda Bådagård, Mathias Garnås, Morgan Lydemo, Anders von Hofsten, Rebecca Petersson, Emma Essinger and Matilda Lindell added a variety of moods and feelings to the AOR tunes of "Next Stop".

Following the album release SONIC STATION will treat fans of prime AOR in the vein of Work Of Art, Lionville, The Theander Expression and Mecca with several live performances during the coming months.  

      

Please click the logo below for SONIC STATION soundbytes.