Jeff Scott Soto – Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (2CD Edition)

Jeff Scott Soto – Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (2CD Edition)
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 06/11/2020
Running Time: 88:30
Review by Chris Galea

If you’re vaguely familiar with Jeff Scott Soto’s musical career, “Wide Awake” should not surprise or bewilder you. This is quintessential JSS as we have heard in his solo repertoire but also in bands such as Takara, Talisman and, to a lesser degree, Yngwie Malmsteen.

So, what the album offers is melodic, catchy and excessively-polished Rock songs with lots of bombastic choruses and a few tasty guitar licks as embodied in songs such as ‘Paper Wings’ or ‘Lesson of Love’. One stand-out song is the title-track…a brooding and groovy number that provides the album with some musical variegation. Besides some familiar faces, the line-up also features Italian guitarist Fabrizio Sgattoni, who makes a positive impression without detracting from the songs’ spirit.

“Wide Awake…” doesn’t score high on originality but the material is put together and delivered to high standards. Scott Soto’s instantly recognisable voice sounds as strong as ever.

The album comes with a bonus live CD featuring Soto’s performance at Frontiers Rock Festival in Italy in 2019. At that festival he had performed a selection of songs from most of his solo releases. I’m not generally a fan of live albums but I must say this recording provides added value to “Wide Awake…” and the band sounds heavier when performing live. So make sure there’s this bonus CD when purchasing your copy of the album.

‘Without You’ (Official Video)


CD 1
01. Someone To Love
02. Mystified
03. Love’s Blind
04. Without You
05. Lesson Of Love
06. Paper Wings
07. Love Will Find A Way
08. Between The Lines
09. Living In A Dream
10. Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)
11. Desperate

01. Drowning (live)
02. 21St Century (live)
03. Believe In Me (live)
04. Look Inside Your Heart (live)
05. Eyes Of Love (live)
06. Band Intros (live)
07. Soul Divine (live)
08. Our Song (live)
09. Holding On (live)
10. I’ll Be Waiting (live)
11. Stand Up feat. Dino Jelusick (live)

Jeff Scott Soto – Vocals
Fabrizio Sgattoni – Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Bass, Keys, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Edu Cominato – Drums
August Zadra – Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar on ‘Between The Lines’


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Vega – Grit Your Teeth

Vega – Grit Your Teeth
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Beth Jones

I have an eclectic taste in music. I spent a good part of tonight listening to Mozart (who is incidentally the finest composer to ever grace the face of the earth, in my humble opinion). When I’m not indulging in a bit of classical or jazz, I like to get stuck into the heavier stuff. Anything from industrial and djent to power metal and classic heavy rock cuts it for me, as long as it’s got a bit of vim!

Enter stage left, “Grit Your Teeth”, the new release, and sixth studio album from Vega, the UK’s answer to Bon Jovi and latter era Aerosmith (who incidentally I both love)! I first became aware of these guys at Amplified 2017 and was instantly a fan! Their album release of that year, “Only Human”, is still on my regular playlist, and I’ve been hotly anticipating this new release for some months!

The band bring a certain edge to the classic 80’s AOR sound, which makes it current, and I really enjoy. This album is certainly no exception to their ‘classic with a modern twist’ feel. Every tune has an ‘anthem’ quality about it, and you can picture huge crowds at massive festivals having an absolute ball to it!  This release has been created with the help of “The Graves Brothers” (Asking Alexandria, Funeral for Friend, The Family Ruin), and, for me, the production has stepped up a big level. I’m a stickler for production, as you may have noticed, and it’s superbly done here.

So, what makes Vega’s sound so good? Well there are a number of things. First and foremost, Nick Workman’s vocals. He has the perfect voice for this sort of music and has a brilliant range. He can deliver power and punch right to the top of his range, but also has the control to bring it down when the music requires. Vocal harmonies add an extra layer, and that backed up by the riffs and melodies on multiple guitars. There are some blistering solos throughout this album, but nothing is over-done. The rhythm section don’t over complicate things, instead opting to do solid well! This sits perfectly within their style. And finally, the atmospheric keyboards and synth elements add a variation in colour and depth which tastefully nods back to the classic sounds of the 80’s (also a superb musical era, and anyone who says any different is wrong).

This is an up-tempo album, which has you nodding your head and tapping your toes right from the start. Every track is perfectly positioned within the album, making it ebb and swell in all the right places. Even though every tune is a banger, and we do get a cracking ballad in the shape of ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, which is slower than the rest, and the most stripped back and deep song on the album. It is in a minor key, which gives it a lamenting feel that is pleasing, in a melancholy kind of way. It also has a great choral backing vocal section towards the end, and the addition of strings, which give it an extra layer.

Another one that sticks in my head is ‘Save Me From Myself’. It has a ridiculously catchy chorus hook, which I was singing along with by the second listen!

But, and you’re going to get sick of me saying this, we have another example of the cardinal sin of music, the fade out, putting in an appearance. It was all going so well, and then the penultimate track goes and does a fade out to finish! Tut tut! For the love of god, please will bands stop doing that and find a way to bloody finish the song instead!! It’s a double shame as there’s an epic little guitar solo in this track too, which is beautifully panned from left to right for effect. It would have been a ten out of ten album for me, but in keeping with my musical morals, half a mark docked for the fade! Sorry chaps!

Apart from that though, stunning album! A huge step forward from their last, and I hope that this is the start of a wider recognition for this immensely talented band, as they thoroughly deserve it! If you like classic AOR, with a Bon Jovi and 80’s/90’s Aerosmith feel, seriously try this album out for size, as you won’t be disappointed!

01. Blind
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me

Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass And Guitar
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Swedish AOR/Rock band Roulette. Huge thanks to bassist/vocalist Hansi Fellbrink for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Hansi and I play bass and sing backing vocals in Roulette. We started this band back in the 80´s, released a couple of singles but no full album. In 2008 we released a ‘best of’ album called “Better Late Than Never”, with 17 old singles/demos, and played a few live gigs. Then in 2015 I wrote the song ‘Secret Room’ and we released it as a single, and after that, two more singles in 2016-17. We got fantastic reviews so decided to record a whole album, and we released “NOW!” In March 2019.

How did you come up with your band name?

We all played in different local bands, but we all felt we could do better with a new band. So, we got together, rehearsed one time and wrote three new song in two hours. Then we left our bands and started Roulette.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re living in Sweden, and in our genre, there are so many new bands coming up, but we got voted best new album so far 2019” in Sweden together with Gathering of Kings.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

Our latest release is the 5th single from the album “NOW!” called “Soldiers Of Love”, and we shot a music video at our live gig in our hometown Sundsvall to promote it.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We all love music from the 80´s, but our main influences are Def Leppard, Journey, Dan Reed Network and Van Halen.

What first got you into music?

I played guitar when I was in school, because my father played all kinds of instruments at home. I was a singer and guitarist for many years in local bands, until we started Roulette and I took over the bass guitar.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Personally, I would love to write a song with Max Martin, the producer. He played in a band called “It´s Alive” before he started producing, and he’s a great singer, musician, songwriter and a cool guy!!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I choose every festival that would book us, because we are longing to playing live now, after all these amazing reviews of our new album, to show our fans that we are a great live band. But if I would choose one it would be great to play at Download Festival or maybe Rock in Rio…J!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Hahahaha….a pair of stockings from a girl in Poland, by mail…J! They smelled nice…J!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Hope to see you soon our tour, we would love to play in Europe, Japan and USA!!!

If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Randy Rhoads

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

To play music live in front of a big crowd full of fans is amazing. It´s nearly impossible to be a musician today and earn money, we all have to have extra jobs and therefore we can´t write songs and play live as much as we want.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Spotify and YouTube are great to spread music on, but you can´t earn any money on these sites unless you are really big.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Def Leppard – “Hysteria”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Doesn´t matter, as long as you listen to Roulette…J! No, but I like vinyl a lot for my collection

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Must say our reunion gig in our hometown, in April 2017, with all of our friends, fans and rockers at one place together!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Makin´ music videos!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Steven Tyler, Max Martin, Christina Aguilera, Steven Gerrard, and Charlize Theron

What’s next for the band?

We just released a new single + video in January 2020.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Biscuit! Too small for a cake..!J

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

We hope Roulette can play live more in Europe in the beginning of 2020. Our album NOW! is still HOT and we really want to meet our fans all over the world.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint

More Sinner Than Saint Cover

Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint
Mad Hat Records
Release Date: 24/05/2019
Running time: 59:33
Review by Paul Monkhouse

The Midlands has always been a hotbed for musical talent. When you consider that the area saw the birth of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Magnum amongst world beating others, you can now add another name to that prestigious list: Wolverhampton based Rebecca Downes. Whilst she has been solidly touring with the likes of The Quireboys and (the aforementioned) Magnum and putting out great albums, this latest should see her most definitely promoted to the big league. “More Sinner Than Saint” mixes her blues rock styling with a hefty dose of AOR and this potent brew of balls and soul is so well written and produced that it stands head and shoulders above most of the releases this year.
‘Take Me Higher’ opens the album and immediately impresses with its huge sound and epic scope. The insistent guitar gives way to Downes rich vocals and swirling keys, leading to an absolutely hook filled chorus that will have you singing it for days. This is all covered in the sort of gloss that the very best of the classic 80’s rock songs boasted and is equally memorable. It should be pointed out though that this is not just an exercise in nostalgia but very much a modern album that will appeal to a wide audience due to the quality of the whole package, not just the echoes of the past. ‘Chains Fall Down’ impresses with its aching vocals, great playing by the assembled musicians and its superb, slowly building structure and ‘Screaming Your Name’ is incredibly passionate, a world-beating track dripping with real soul but eschewing any overwrought guitar soloing that so often plagues other big rock ballads.
Rocker ‘Hurts’ lets loose and is full of ballsy grit, revealing the more primeval rock ‘n’ roll side of Downes and co-writer and guitarist Steve Birkett whilst Magnum main man Tony Clarkin returns the favour of Downes appearing on their recent live album to play some beautifully fluid guest guitar on ‘Breathe Out’. Already a fan favourite live, ‘Wave Them Goodbye’ sees multi-instrumentalist Birkett not only play some great slide guitar but unleash his impressive vocal chops in this, the albums only duet. Whilst it is Downes name on the cover, her musical partnership with him is the key to their success as they complement each other in the same way that Jagger and Richards and Plant and Page mastered, the perfect combination of singer and guitarist and this chemistry is perfectly highlighted on the album.
The titular ‘More Sinner Than Saint’ is all you could want it to be, starting with a church organ this is upbeat song laced with dark lyrics captures something halfway between Fleetwood Mac and Heart in its big sound and delivery. King King’s Alan Nimmo guests on ‘If I Go to Sleep’ and it’s another, harder rocking tune that stomps its size 11’s all over you and mixes sweet female vocals with rougher male ones. Nimmo’s solo sounds huge and the fact that Downes and Birkett can call upon him and Clarkin to guest on this release speaks volumes and new Magnum keys player Rick Benton plays throughout, all adding their own magic to the recordings whilst not putting anyone in the shade. Here, the music is the thing and egos are left at the door.
‘Stand on My Feet’ transports you to the Deep South, swaying in the summer heat whilst the landscape shimmers and chrome glistens under a beating sun. For anyone who fell in love with Alannah Myles first album, there is so much to enjoy here and this track brings to mind that magnificent debut, all southern sensuality, road trips to New Orleans and long, cold beers. ‘Big Sky’ ups the tempo again from the languid pacing of the previous track and has a real bite and groove and the sort of production that Mutt Lange gave Def Leppard, Shania Twain et al. The album continues in such a strong vein and finishes with ‘In Reverse’ which features an absolutely sky-scraping vocal from Downes and the hugely powerful ‘With Me’. This closing track is probably the most affecting one of the album and ends it on an emotional high, a song of promise, hope and protection that is so intensely emotional that you may well find yourself with a tear in your eye at the end of it. All the very best music should move us is one way or another and in ‘With Me’ you have a classic love song that never falls into clichéd moments but genuinely touches the soul and shows that you don’t have to be loud to be powerful, eschewing bluster for genuine heart. In “More Sinner Than Saint” Rebecca Downes has made not just the album of her career so far but one that will stand the test of time as a genuine classic. Without any doubt, one of the finest releases this year.
01. Take Me Higher
02. Chains Fall Down
03. Screaming Your Name
04. Hurts
05. Breathe Out
06. Wave Them Goodbye
07. More Sinner Than Saint
08. If I Go To Sleep
09. Stand On My Feet
10. Big Sky
11. In Reverse
12. With Me
Rebecca Downes Pic
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Paisley – Perennials

perennials cover

Black Paisley – Perennials
Release Date: 27/09/2018
Running Time: 51:12
Review By Chris Galea

Black Paisley are a Swedish band named after the Fender signature model guitar of Ritchie Sambora in Bon Jovi. And in fact you often hear connections with Bon Jovi throughout this album. Since I’m name-dropping…the lead vocals in “Perennials” sometimes reminded me of James Christian (House Of Lords) and comparisons with Thunder also seem inevitable.

But despite being very song-oriented and mainstream-friendly, “Perennials” is somewhat elusive when one comes to categorise its music and for me this is one of its main attractions. From catchy sing-along choruses to subtle but effective uses of keyboards and onto brilliant uses of choir vocals and Rock songs with punch…there’s more to this album than meets the eye. Then there are a couple of excellent piano-ballads, one of which is ‘Stronger’ – incidentally this is also the album’s strongest track (‘scuse my pun). Melancholy, vitality, Hard Rock, Blues Rock, AOR…there really is much to enjoy in this album.

On the other hand, since “Perennials” is very traditional in nature, it’s unlikely to have you gawping in amazement. But then again you never know. Personally, after an overdose of Metal, it feels right to keep testosterone levels in check with something like this.

01. I Want Your Soul
02. Day By Day
03. Sometimes
04. Mother
05. Miss Me
06. Without You
07. Step Back
08. Trying
09. Out Of My Life
10. Alone
11. Think
12. Stronger

Stefan Blomqvist – lead vocal and guitar
Ulf Hedin – guitars
Jan Emanuelsson – bass
Robert Wirensjö – keyboards
Mikael Kerslow – drums and percussion


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.