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Melodic Round-up: October 2015

Dave Ling on new releases from Ozone, Art Nation, Mad Max, Constancia and The Murder Of My Sweet

Ozone: Self Defence

Steve Overland and Chris Ousey are among the finest lead singers in British melodic rock. Overland is best known as the voice of FM but has several additional strings to his bow, including a solo career and the side-projects Shadowman and The Ladder. Ousey currently fronts Snakecharmer and has played with Monroe, Heartland and Virginia Wolf. Both men have clocked up the miles since the 1980s, but the range, tone and sheer bluesiness their delivery remains exquisite.

The album was made with an impressive backing team that includes Mike Slamer of City Boy, Streets and Steelhouse Lane fame as producer/multi-instrumentalist, guitarist Tommy Denander and Billy Greer of Kansas. The simplest, safest option would have been for Overland and Ousey to have sung separate songs. But, along with the quality of its tunes, the glory of this record is how the two voices interact as one takes the lead while the other sings back-up. The results on tracks such as Let The Good Will Out and the funk-laden Save My Soul are quite superb. (810)

Art Nation: Revolution

Songs? Art Nation have got ’em. Musicianship? Got those too. Great voice? Tick the box on that one as well. Must we go on? No, it’s not necessary. Led by former Diamond Dawn frontman Alexander Strandell, Art Nation play cool, glossy and decidedly refreshing Scandi-AOR that is deliciously easy on the ear. Revolution could be among the finest and most accomplished debuts of 2015. (810)

Mad Max: Thunder, Storm & Passion

In order to reclaim their rights and administer “a fresh lick of paint” (the words of band leader Michael Voss), Germany’s Mad Max have re-recorded a dozen of their tracks from 1984-87. And there are some splendid ones here, notably Burning The Stage. An eight-song in-concert companion disc represents a very nice bonus. (710)

Constancia: Final Curtain

Filed away in the ‘long-lost’ department, on the grounds that it has taken them six years to follow up their impressive debut, Swedish band Constancia have nevertheless hit the mark again with Final Curtain. Don’t Tread On My Heart lives up to its AOR-tastic title, and the rest of the songs on it are hummable, silken and overall rather cool. (710)

The Murder Of My Sweet: Beth Out Of Hell

It’s been three years since we last heard any new music from this self-styled “cinematic” band from Sweden. Angelica Rylin is a quality vocalist, and the title of the album is appropriate, as Beth Out Of Hell is the type of tumultuous audio lunacy that presumably soundtracks some of Bat Out Of Hell writer Jim Steinman’s nightmares. (810)

Classic Rock 215: New Albums

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