Hanoi Rocks – Oriental Beat (40th Anniversary)

Oriental Beat (40th Anniversary) Album Cover Art

Hanoi Rocks – Oriental Beat (40th Anniversary)
Svart Records
Release Date: 17/03/23
Running Time: 35:48
Review by Simon Black

Imagine if you will a teenaged version of me starting to get into Hard Rock and Metal music for the first time in the late 1980’s. Although I came from the Prog and Rock end of things originally, the more raucous sounds, wild image and excessive lifestyle of the Glam movement caught my ear for a while, although you will be pleased to know I grew out of it quite quickly. By the time that brief dalliance occurred, Hanoi Rocks were already gone, unable to keep going for long after the death of drummer Razzle at the hands of Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil driving under the influence. The fact that he got away so lightly in the eyes of the law is as much of a crime as the early death of this hugely influential act in the eyes of many.

Whether they would have kept going for much longer is debatable anyway – excess, substance abuse, a bit more excess, back-to-back albums, a little bit more excess, a gruelling touring schedule and divisive egos were already working away at their foundations after a whirlwind four years since their debut album hit the racks and the band relocated to London from Stockholm. I didn’t come across them until the fag end of the 80’s when a dear late friend, who loved the band unequivocally educated me with a worn-out VHS copy of their seminal performance at London’s Marquee Club (it’s long since deleted but you can find it on YouTube, and the soundtrack at least is available on the “All Those Wasted Years (Live)”). It’s an electric and insanely lively performance, and musically fuck all to do with Glam Metal, fusing instead British Punk sentiment and attitude with good old-fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is why people still talk about them now (Guns ‘N’ Roses debut album is a straight fusion of Hanoi Rocks and Aerosmith for a start). 

I was on board from that point, despite having ditched anything else with a whiff of hairspray and eyeliner by that point. The trouble is by that then their discography had become as rare as rocking horse poo… I caught frontman Mike Monroe’s solo efforts in the early 90’s once, and a previous reunion happened a while ago, but for most of the last 40 years things have been quiet.

Cut to 2023. With another reunion on the horizon, the band have reduxed their 1982 classic, and have gone right back to the masters and remixed and remastered again from scratch. To be fair they’ve done a fab job, given the age of the source material which retains the frenetic energy, rawness and sheer unique sound of their songs whilst still sounding pretty darn rich on modern sound equipment. One in the eye for all the retro wannabees desperately trying to mix ancient and modern…

The challenge with all of Hanoi Rocks studio albums is that the relentless rate of writing and production (five studio albums in four years) meant that song writing consistency was always something of a challenge. So, although classic belters like ‘Motorvatin’ or ‘Oriental Beat’ blast things off fantastically here, a lot of the remainder of the album is a lot more stylistically experimental than the house sound they have subsequently cemented in the audience consciousness. That’s the band finding their feet true, and throwing all sorts of other influences that living in London at the turn of the 80’s would have brought in, with Monroe’s pure Punk vocal arrangements, Reggae back beats and rhythm riffs, Ska’s hybrid experimentalism (and saxophone) spliced with the more 70’s Hard Rock elements howling from Andy McCoy’s guitar all illustrates the band’s ethos of throw it all at the wall and see what sticks perfectly. 

Having never actually managed to track down a copy of this record at the time, I was hearing it fresh when this re-issue landed and I am really struck by how well it has aged, regardless of the redux that’s been done in the studio. Having just last night watched Monroe playing a support slot with Black Star Riders, the same seems to apply to the frontman who does not seem to have aged much and retains the stamina of his much younger self to this day. 

I’m hoping the reunion happens, but I’m also hoping they keep at it long enough to give the same treatment to their back catalogue. One down, four to go pretty please.

‘Oriental Beat (2022 remix)’ Official Audio


01. Oriental Beat
02. Motorvatin’
03. No Law Or Order
04. Teenangels Outsiders
05. Sweet Home Suburbia
06. MC Baby
07. Don’t Follow Me
08. Visitor
09. Lightnin’ Bar Blues
10. Devil Woman
11. Fallen Star


Michael Monroe – Vocals, Saxophone, Harmonica
Andy Mccoy – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nasty Suicide – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Sam Yaffa – Bass
Gyp Casino – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

One Desire – Midnight Empire

One Desire – Midnight Empire
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 51:32
Review by Tsarina Wilson

When an album starts with a creepy voice that gives you goose bumps and then the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you know you’re in for a good time. And this is how “Midnight Empire” by Finnish rockers One Desire begins. It is a feel-good album and the tracks just get better and better.

For those of you not familiar with One Desire, they formed in 2012, initially as a project put together by drummer Ossi Sivula. Fast forward a couple of years and they were working with renowned producer, Jimmy Westerlund (Negative, Sturm Und Drang, Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, Pitbull etc), who has several platinum and gold albums to his credit as a producer, guitarist, and song writer.

This brought them to the attention of Frontiers, but at the time, they needed a good singer. Enter stage right Andre Linman from the band Sturm und Drang, who joined the band in 2016. The remaining member, bassist Jonas Kuhlberg (Paul Di Anno, Cain’s Offering, MyGrain), then joined and the band was complete.

Their self-titled debut album really took off, with the track ‘Hurt’ gaining nearly 2 million hits on YouTube and almost 3 million streams on Spotify! After listening to the track, I can totally understand why! Following a successful European tour with Eclipse, they headed back to the studio to start work on this release. “Midnight Empire”. It took two years of work, but now it’s here!

Throughout the album I found myself thinking, “who do these guys remind me of?” and I kept coming back to two bands. Van Halen and the Scorpions! That upbeat, brilliant, 80’s good listening rock, that’s heavy enough to be ROCK, but not so OTT that your ear drums bleed! “Midnight Empire” is the complete package, punchy guitar playing, good rocking drums, amazing vocals…In fact, there’s nothing I don’t like about this! It’s been a while since an album I’ve reviewed has had such an upbeat vibe to it. It makes you just want to put it on repeat and listen over and over again.

Track 2 ‘After You’re Gone’ is definitely one of those tracks that is made for the summertime, window down, volume up, playing finger drums on the steering wheel (yes most of us have done it)! It has that feel good factor throughout. Not all the tracks are full on rockers though, you get some slightly slower tracks, but it just gives the whole album more appeal. I said earlier they remind me a little of Van Halen, by this I mean where you get an almost ballad type track, which then suddenly jumps to a faster tempo. It certainly keeps you on your toes which helps maintain interest throughout the album.

I have to give a special mention to the vocals here. You not only get some amazing melody vocals, but the harmonising is spot on as well! Not too overpowering but complimenting the main vocals of Andre whose vocals are crisp and clear, but with such an edge.

Track 5, ‘Through the Fire’, takes you in a differently direction all together. This slower, ballad like track, is such a variation to the others. But it’s not “just another ballad” because, out of nowhere, it explodes into another dimension! You can feel the guys passion for their music through almost every track, but in this one it’s especially noticeable. They sound like they’re singing their entire hearts out, and every ounce of energy they had went into it. In every track you can hear and feel how much the music means to them, and they want you to share that experience with them.

The final track, ‘Only When I Breathe, is a real ‘lighters out’ rock ballad, and really gets to you (for those of us who have a heart)! Listening to this, I think it’s something most of us can relate to at some point in our lives.

All I can say is wow. “Midnight Empire” is truly brilliant, and I have already added it to my music collection. The passion on each track is tangible. They have put their heart and soul into it completely and should be so proud!

As a little side note, a quick mention about track 9, ‘Killer Queen’! Just to say DON’T PANIC!! It’s not a cover of the Queen track!

01. Shadowman
02. After You’re Gone
03. Down And Dirty
04. Godsent Extasy
05. Through The Fire
06. Heroes
07. Rio
08. Battlefield Of Love
09. Killer Queen
10. Only When I Breathe

Jimmy Westerlund – Guitars
Andre Linman – Lead Vocals
Ossi Sivula – Drums
Jonas Kuhlberg – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

EMQs with Barbe-Q-Barbies


Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Helsinki based Rock band Barbe-Q-Barbies. Huge thanks to vocalist Niki 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 Niki and I am the singer in Barbe-Q-Barbies.
I joined the band in 2006 after Niina the drummer asked me to join.

How did you come up with your band name?

One of the founders of the band is Niina who plays the drums! She made up the name after watching Soundgarden’s music video ‘Black Hole Sun’ where they are grilling Barbie dolls!

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

We are all from Finland and we live in Helsinki. The Rock/Metal scene is very popular around here as you can tell because most bands from Finland that made it big are either rock or metal!

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

We released our 4th album called “Borrowed Time in 2019, with one single/music video ‘Dis-funk-tional’.

Who have been your greatest influences?

This is always a hard question as through the years I’ve listened to so much music, different artists and different genres like Pop, R´n´B, Hip-Hop and, of course, Rock music. But to name a few I listened to when growing up I would say Queen, Guns ‘n Roses, Metallica, Skunk Anansie, Soundgarden, Nirvana etc…the list goes on!

What first got you into music?

I used to love to dance so I listened to lots of music and of course sang along all the time, MTV back in the days when they still played music videos was really inspiring. Also my brother used to listen really loud to Alice Cooper everyday so I guess that might have inspired me to!

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

I would love to work with Dave Grohl, I met him once and he was so down to earth and I love the Foo Fighters.

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

Download Festival would be cool but let’s say any festival in the world because we love to play at festivals, like all bands do!

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

Probably old, used men’s underwear!!

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

A Big Thank You and lots of love and hope to see you at the shows!

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

Tough one! I would say Freddie Mercury because he would have written so many more killer songs! But…I was really upset hearing about Chris Cornell’s death as well because he was such a brilliant artist, singer and songwriter and he left way too early!

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

I love writing music and preforming! There’s nothing really I hate about it, maybe lack of sleep when touring because I’m always scared to lose my voice!

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

Probably to make a law against using autotune!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Audioslave – “Audioslave”.

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

I should probably say vinyl but I don’t have a vinyl player at the moment. I do have between 500-1000 CD’s but usually I listen to iTunes or Spotify on my phone because that’s the easiest 😄!

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

Last summer we played many festivals but my favourite was probably Provinssi/Finland.

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

When I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a firefighter but that wouldn’t have worked cause I’m too short! I guess I would’ve become a dancer because I used to dance a lot when I was younger.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Well that’s a tricky question, should it be people I know or wish I knew lol! Me and my Fiance love throwing dinner parties at our house and we made our basement into a band rehearsal place so we usually have dinner and then go downstairs jamming.

So a good group that have already been at our parties would be Andy & Angela Mccoy, Esa Holopainen (Amorphis) Niclas Etelävuori (Flat Earth) and our former Guitar player from BQB Kaisa Karjalainen (Fox Confession)! She is a dear friend and she could play the electric violin with my fiance on the drums then we would have lots of fun and an interesting jam night lol!

What’s next for the band?

We just signed a management deal so let’s see what that will bring us in the near future!

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

Mostly Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

A biscuit cake lol!

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

Happy 2020 everyone!
Hope you enjoy our music and hope to see you at the shows!

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.