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Melodic Rock Round-up: June 2015

Dave Ling on new releases from Radioactive, Tony Mills, AOR, Serpentine and O’Regan

Radioactive: F4UR

Tommy Denander is a guitar player whose credits on more than 2,500 albums could fill a supplement of this magazine, and besides having played with Paul Stanley, Michael Jackson and Richard Marx he’s also a member of the band Impera. It’s no wonder, then, that the fourth album from his Radioactive project has been more than 10 years in the making.

It sees the Stockholm native collaborating with a stunning list of lead vocalists, including two – Survivor’s Jimi Jamison and former Toto man Fergie Frederiksen – who are no longer with us. Special guest-themed records have become 10-a-penny (three such examples lurk within this month’s column), though with F4UR Denander really pushes out the boat, both in terms of the stature of his collaborators and the strength of the songs on the record.

Jamison sounds superb on Summer Rains while the Frederiksen-sung Back To The Game is right out of the Toto songbook, and with a cast list that includes Jeff Paris and ex-Toto man Bobby Kimball, this is a smooth Rolls-Royce ride to the finish line. (810)/o:p

Tony Mills: Over My Dead Body

The unusual title refers to the former Shy/TNT singer being saved by paramedics following a heart attack at Oslo Airport in 2010. Overbearing subject matter aside, there’s quality to songs such as Gate 21, Northern Star and a remake of Jacques Brel’s My Death. And even in his early 50s, Mills’s voice remains in good nick. (710)

AOR: Return To LA

Return To LA is the latest in a sequence of 14 albums with similar titles, all based on an identical premise. Frédéric Slama is back with yet more accomplished West Coast-themed melodic hard rock and a further raft of special guests, this time including Paul Sabu, Tommy Funderburk and Silent Rage’s Jesse Damon. (710)

Serpentine: Circle Of Knives

Line-up problems and health issues have plagued Serpentine’s career thus far, but this third album, produced by and co-written with Ten’s Gary Hughes, represents an emphatic steadying of the ship. New singer Adam Payne is a bloody good fit, and the songs offer a winning blend of melodic hard rock, AOR, metal and pomp. (810)

O’Regan: Tunnel Vision

After playing guitar in Magnum singer Bob Catley’s solo band, O’Regan has found a home in Legion, a band who seem to release a new album every six months. For Tunnel Vision he’s joined by a number of singing acquaintances. And although overall the results are convincing, you’re left wondering what Vince might achieve by just slowing down a little? (610)/o:p