1991. Streets: A Rock Opera 

is the Seventh album by band Savatage, The album took almost a year to record, with pre-production beginning in October 1990. This would be the last Savatage album founder Jon Oliva would perform lead vocals on until the 2001 release of Poets and Madmen although he would remain active with the band as a composer and keyboard player.

The concept of Streets is based on a book written by Paul O’Neill many years prior to his involvement with the band. Streets was never meant to be an autobiography. In fact, it was written in 1979 as a Broadway play and stored in a drawer at Paul O’Neill’s home until Criss Oliva found it and suggested it be Savatage’s next album. It is considered coincidental that the life of lead vocalist Jon Oliva mirrored that of the main character DT Jesus at the time. 

The story features a fallen rock star called DT Jesus (DT is short for either De-Tox or Down-Town), who has hit hard times. He is a drug dealer as the story begins. DT Jesus is just another lowlife on the streets of New York City. Streets explains the story behind DT Jesus and his rise to fame again and his second fall.

The band sounds more comfortable than on “Gutter Ballet”… Improved production and clearer vocals, The sound on Streets is much more of a hard rock sound than a heavy metal sound.

The rest of the musicianship is top notch. Criss is Criss.  really great solos. The rhthym section is the same as it’s always been.

It’s simply a masterpiece of grand proportions.

Jon Oliva       Criss Oliva     Johnny Lee Middleton      Steve Wacholz 

2006. A Matter of Life and Death

 is the fourteenth album by band Iron Maiden, It is the first album in Iron Maiden’s career to enter the US Billboard charts in the top 10, achieving significant chart success in many other countries as well. 

To provide a more “live” sound, the album was not mastered. Producer Kevin Shirley said, “Spoke to ‘Arry (Steve Harris) on Friday, who has decided against mastering the Iron Maiden album… It means that you will get to hear the new album exactly as it sounded in the studio, no added EQ, compression, analog widening, etc., and I must say, I am pretty happy with the end result.

Speaking to Metal Hammer in September 2006, lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson commented that “Everyone was up for pushing things as far as they’d go, but the record was so easy to make.” Dickinson went on to claim that they “finished the record with two months to spare,” with Harris adding that “A lot of what you hear are first time takes.” Speaking about the record’s musical style, Harris states that “It is heavier than we’ve ever been, but also very progressive. And I don’t mean that in the modern sense, but like Dream Theater, more in a 70s way.”

This is an Iron Maiden album for Iron Maiden fans. Those who have matured along with the band will appreciate it. Iron Maiden still rules.

Bruce Dickinson    Dave Murray      Adrian Smith    Janick Gers     Steve Harris      Nicko McBrain 

 2006. Crows Fly Black 

is the seventh album by band Tarot,  This is the first album to officially acknowledge Tommi ‘Tumple’ Salmela as a member of the band, referred to as an ‘old-new’ member; until then, Tommi’s role was limited to sampling and backing vocals, while in this album, Tommi takes role of fully fledged vocalist.

Tarot was originally formed by the Hietala brothers in the early 80’s.  is underground popularity in Finland, the band has never been very famous elsewhere until gaining new success in recent years when their singer and bassist Marco Hietala joined band Nightwish in 2002.

the album is strong, heavy and clear. ‘Crows fly black’ is easily one of the better surprises of 2006.

Marco Hietala    Zachary Hietala    Janne Tolsa    Pecu Cinnari   Tommi Salmela 

2006. Northwind 

is the fifth album by band Falconer, the first to feature returning vocalist Mathias Blad since Chapters from a Vale Forlorn.

Northwind is not the best of Falconer’s album but it joins the group of really great albums also consisting of Falconer, Chapters from a Vale Forlorn and The Sceptre of Deception. If we judge the current quality of Falconer by this album, the future promises great records.

the music has become more folky, more controlled, more perfected and a little more laid-back. This album focuses more on creating a mystical, folky emotion and this is more Folk Metal than the earlier albums.

this is still a great place to start for this power metal staple.

Mathias Blad    Stefan Weinerhall   Jimmy Hedlund    Magnus Linhardt   Karsten Larsson 

2006. The Beauty and the Beer 

is the twelfth album by band Tankard.

Tankard is well-oiled thrash machine that destroys the silence, each chorus has its own killing melody (it is easy to remember). So, open your refrigerator, take the cold beer and play this incredible piece of metal absolutely loud. And scream with Gerre: the power of metal will always survive!!! Let your neighbors know this elemental truth.

Andreas Geremia  ”Gerre”   Andy Gutjahr    Frank Thorwarth   Olaf Zissel