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Melodic Rock Round-up: August 2012

Dave Ling on new releases from Million $ Reload, Place Called Rage, Hydrogyn, Eternal Of Sweden and Prayer

Million $ Reload: A Sinner’s Saint!

Had Million $ Reload been born in their spiritual home of Los Angeles instead of Belfast, their story might have turned out far differently. Despite releasing the album Anthems Of A Degeneration that one critic called “the best debut since Appetite For Destruction”, the band have been plagued by bad fortune, notably when their distributor went bankrupt. Now they find themselves with a label known more for fluffy AOR than the for slightly sleazy yet no less hook-laden party-time fare for which M$R are known. But instead of wimping out to appease their new paymasters they’ve responded with a follow-up that marginally out-heavies its predecessor. Once feted as a member of Velvet Revolver, Phil Conalane is their trump card. Whether serving up the anthemic raunch‘n’roll of Bullets In The Sky, Blow Me Away and Smoke ‘N’ Mirrors) or, at the other end of the spectrum, the Tesla-ish, arena-friendly ballad Broken, the singer doesn’t put a snakeskin cowboy-booted foot wrong. Possibly, just possibly, lady luck is set to smile upon M$R at last. (810)

Place Called Rage: Place Called Rage

Don’t be misled by the metallic-sounding name or the fact that one of their number is former Megadeth/Savatage man Al Pitrelli on guitar, Place Called Rage are (or, more accurately, were) a sleek, bluesy yet commercially inclined band. Featuring keyboards from guest Mark Mangold (Touch, Drive, She Said), this album was recorded back in the 1990s but it certainly still has appeal. (610)

Hydrogyn: Private Sessions

After experimenting with hair-rock and a heavier strand of metal, at the fifth time of asking Hydrogyn, still fronted by Julie Westfield, have found a direction with which they’re completely comfortable. Private Sessions occupies the soft-rock-meets-pop middle ground between Evanescence and Def Leppard’s controversial X album. (710)

Eternal Of Sweden: Chapter 1

Inspired by “melodic rock, metal and naked women” (that’s what it says here, anyway), Eternal Of Sweden play a style of music that is by turns headbanger-friendly, efficiently hummable and deeply pompous. And it’s a great help that their singer, Christer Gärds, sounds a little like ex-Rainbow man Graham Bonnet. Fans of Pretty Maids should give them a try. (610)

Prayer: Danger In The Dark

Based in Oulu, Northern Finland, Prayer appear to have read and digested every last word of The AOR Band’s Handbook. Overflowing with enthusiasm, their intent is major-positive, although the vocals of Tapani Tikkanen are an acquired taste. This, the quartet’s second album, offers nothing that you won’t have heard many, many times before. (510)