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Articles: 1996 Articles

Accept - 1996 Predator
For 'Predator' Accept employed famed producer Michael Wagener, the German connection intact. 'Predator' was another departure, with Peter Baltes assuming vocals for three tracks, something he had not done since 1980's 'Breaker'. Musically it was a combination of old and new Accept, a far more satisfying mixture.

Affair, The - 1996 Solid Ground
This trio came from Toledo Ohio, and were an accomplished outfit, fitting somewhere between AOR (a la Toto) and prog. For an independent release this is damned good.

Axe - 1996 Five
By the mid 70's, Bobby Barth had resettled in Colorado where he had studio and retail business interests. Encouraged to reboot Axe back into life, 'Five' was the album to restart the engines.

Baal - 1996 Sensorama
Baal hail from Denmark. This really is a difficult one to assess. It's not your normal easy listening CD, it's not AOR, or melodic rock but really a morphing together of a number of different styles, being pop rock, indie, maybe opera infused pop, with lots of stabbing piano.

Beggars Opera - 1996 The Final Curtain
Taken at face value this is first rate AOR that should appeal to a broad range of listeners, and those with a liking for synthesizer can't go wrong with this one.

Blue Rain - 1996 Just The Beginning
Everyone related to Blue Rain knew the album sounded poor by 1996 standards, but really the material overrides any sound issues in the end and this is a fun listen.

Brazen Abbot - 1996 Eye Of The Storm
This is perhaps the best Brazen Abbot album of the lot, to my way of thinking. For those of you with a love of late seventies hard rock, a la UFO, Deep Purple, or Thin Lizzy, then you need look no further than Nikolo Kotsev's project band.

Bush, Stan - 1996 The Child Within
As always we are guaranteed a top notch release from AOR demi-god Stan Bush. Released amid a flurry of albums during this time frame, and following a period of being out in the wilderness without a contract after the awesome Stan Bush And Barrage album from 1987.

Captive Heart - 1996 Home Of The Brave
Here's a band that fitted quite nicely into the category of 'right place, wrong time'. A pure AOR band from Chicago, Captive Heart could've gone places had they not fallen into the grunge trap of 1992.

Challenge - 1996 Acoustic Universe
Challenge are a two piece from LA playing a primarily accoustic oriented sound, mixing the talents of Dutchman Arno Verstappen and vocal chanteuse Allison Lindsay.

Cinema Face - 1996 Face Card
The collection of songs on this set 'Face Card' aren't as immediate as the debut 13 years prior. However, I like it quite a lot, though others out there are less convinced.

Dante Fox - 1996 Under Suspicion
An English quartet who most obviously have sat around the kitchen table most mornings listening to the likes of Heart and Romeos Daughter etc. From Birmingham, they could be forgiven for sounding anything like their more famous predecessors (Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Magnum, Shy), with a sound straight out of the US melodic rock songbook.

Downes, Geoffrey - 1996 Evolution
Why Geoff Downes had to go and do an album full of schmaltzy covers is beyond me. The Asia maestro (in my opinion) really didn't need to go and sully his sublime keyboard reputation with this totally awful collection of hard rock hits from the last thirty odd years.

Enchant - 1996 Wounded
A very talented group of guys are Enchant. These San Francisco based progressive rockers are unique in that they ply a road that is at that lighter AOR/melodic rock side of the progressive spectrum, comparing them to the likes of The Chance, Jester, Everon and some obvious ones like Rush or latterday Fates Warning.

Entwistle, John - 1996 The Rock
Following The Who's demise in 1982 the late John Entwistle went about assembling a new backing band, 'hand picking' the members, including Prism vocalist Henry Small and drummer Zak Starkey (ex ASAP and son of Ringo Starr).

Erlandsson, Mikael - 1996 Under The Sun
Here's a lovely bright burst of sunshine sneaking through the musical landscape, in the form of rock/pop vocal prince Mikael Erlandson. With looks similar to Frenchman David Hallyday, and a sound that's more at home on the American cornbelt, Mikael can't help but appeal to more than his Swedish fan base.

Feehan, Tim - 1996 Pray For Rain
A six year gap between Tim Feehan's 'Full Contact' opus, and this one 'Pray For Rain', released on the Swedish label West Coast. It's a continuation of Tim's sublime AOR/West Coast style, and with a backline of talent to help him out on this effort, the quality and class is evident yet again.

Firehouse - 1996 Good Acoustics
Hair metallers Firehouse ventured into 1996 with an acoustic/semi-unplugged CD, on the back of three hard rocking albums which preceded it.

Frazier River - 1996 Frazier River
This band came and went, like the proverbial riverboat these guys spent their time playing on, honing their countrified light rock back in the mid nineties. The focal point being singer Danny Frazier, the band overall coming across like a Diamond Rio/Restless Heart hybrid.

Graham, Ralph (And Day III) - 1996 No Alternative
Kicking off in 1993, Day III have Christian rock origins and released this decent set of mid 90's melodic rock in 1996.

Graphite - 1996 Chestnut Loke
English band Graphite originate from the early 70's, and tinker with trippy progressive rock cutting over to an American west coast psychedelic sound.

Harlan Cage - 1996 Harlan Cage
The fortunes of L.A (Larry) Greene and Roger Scott Craig, continue on into the nineties with their formalised band/project Harlan Cage. After the demise of eighties L.A pomp gods Fortune, and some stints with songwriting and well known movie soundtracks, the duo's collective efforts have been combined.

Infinity - 1996 Infinity
It's always amazed me how much progressive rock created in America during its heyday has yet to see the light of day on CD. Thank god for labels like Greg Walker's Syn-Phonic Music who is making an effort by specializing in American made obscurities from days gone by, including the lost tapes of California band Infinity.

Iris (France) - 1996 Crossing The Desert
'Crossing The Desert', as an album, although instrumental, has enough variation between its eight pieces of music to hold the listener's attention.

Jacklyn - 1996 Marble Rose
Fans of female fronted melodic hard rock/AOR should take to Jacklyn's music like a duck to water.

Jillian - 1996 Jillian
Jillian, upon deeper inspection is one Jillian Bickler, the wife of former Survivor beret wearer Dave Bickler. Jillian instead travels the path followed previously by the likes of Rachel Rachel, Lisa Bevill, Zahalan and Stealin' Horses.

Journey - 1996 Trial By Fire
I recall vividly the hyperbole surrounding the release of Journey's first and only studio album release for the 70's decade. It was seen as a repairing of relationships, a release of musical energy that only this group of kindred souls could deliver.

Kyle, Jaime - 1996 Back From Hollywood
I'm sure I can speak for many here at GLORY-DAZE when I say that Jaime Kyle has a legion of fans: all of them male I would suggest!

LA Guns, The - 1996 American Hardccore
1996 was a desperate time for LA Guns. So much so they renamed themselves 'The LA Guns' in an attempt to revive their flagging fortunes. The stigma of the 80's hung over bands like themselves and they couldn't do anything right.

Lane, Lana - 1996 Curious Goods
Lana Lane is the undisputed queen of the symphonic/progressive rock genre. Getting ample support from the musicians listed above, her music is now starting to generate interest from crossover audiences, who see her as the prog equivalent of Ann Wilson (Heart).

Lewis, Donna - 1996 Now In A Minute
An 'at times' mesmerising blend of commercial pop and atmospheric arrangements. All coming together under the umbrella of this Welsh chanteuse, who can be 'will o' the wisp' one moment, and forthright the next. Take ample doses of Enya, Iona, then combine it with pop heroine Cyndi Lauper, and you've got Donna Lewis.

Mayer, Peter - 1996 Green Eyed Radio
Now, let me point out that this is not strictly AOR as most reviews are on this site, but the talent of the man concerned, and the class of the material is undeniably great!

Metallica - 1996 Load
'Load' abandoned everything the band stood for, right down to their image, with the band preening in avant-garde fashions, complete with Goth makeup and horrendous clothing.

Moore, Gary - 1996 Streets And Walkways: The Best Of..
Here we have a compilation which is exactly what it states. Fifteen tracks, ten from Moore's 70's excursion into fusion territory with Colosseum II and five from his solo 'Back On The Streets' solo album of 1978, highlighting Moore's dominating prowess of his chosen instrument.

Mr Big (UK) - 1996 Rainbow Bridge
Not to be confused with the American Mr Big, this English band released two albums 'Sweet Silence' (1975) and 'Mr Big' (1977)..

Murdock, Robert - 1996 Don't Quit Your Day Job
>This bloke and his excellent band originate from Edison New Jersey. Released in the mid 70's, this is a bright and breezy set of 8 tracks, sounding like a cross between AOR and pop/rock.

Omega - 1996 Transcendent
'Transcendent' has become a 70's AOR classic for me, and a very welcome one considering how barren that decade was compared to the 80's. Omega seem to possess a sense of melody that is both triumphant and melancholy, a tendency that is in very strong evidence all over this album.

Only Child - 1996 Only Child II
It's clear to me that Sabu was a great representation of the 80's, and that's where I prefer to remember him by. The songs here are a varied collection, nowhere near as focused as the 1988 debut. It's a mostly hard rock/metal performance, with little in the way of glossy keyboard overload and rich melodies.

Parsons, Alan - 1996 On Air
For the best part of 25 years, I've had a soft spot for the music and creative wisdom of Alan Parsons. Both as a musician and producer, Alan has left a legacy which is the envy of many in the rock world.

Player - 1996 Lost In Reality
This album was originally known as 'Electric Shadow' and released in 1995 outside of the US, where this type of music was nothing short of extinct. That said, this is hardly an aggressive AOR album, more of a light pop affair made for light rock radio stations.

REO Speedwagon - 1996 Building The Bridge
Though the album saw a reissue in 2003 by Universal, 'Building The Bridge' would remain REO's most low-key album among their back-catalog.

Roko - 1996 Fantasy
Considering the previous work of Roko, 'Fantasy' is quite a departure from what we've come to expect from Robert Kohlmeyer. Upon first taste it was a big surprise to find such a laid back sound. It did take some getting used to.

Savage Affair - 1996 Actual Reality
Savage Affair originate from Copenhagen Denmark, and recorded profilically during the 70's and into the 2000's. Their music can be described as a jangly style of rock, with touches of R&B, blues, country rock and a dabble of AOR

Scorpions, The - 1996 Pure Instinct
What persuaded the band to record an album like this is a mystery. In 1996 the world was crying out for an album like 'Blackout' or even 'Savage Amusement'. Instead they went the opposite direction and wimped out to a degree that has never been seen before or since. The Scorpions apparently decided an album full of ballads was required. Many may cite 1999's 'Eye II Eye' as their nadir, but nothing comes close to this shocking display by a band who seemingly forgot they were once a heavy metal band.

Son Of A Bitch - 1996 Victim You
For the time this is a good attempt at recapturing an audience that had probably moved on from Saxon and as pointed out it has far more of a real Saxon vibe than Saxon themselves.

Southern Sons - 1996 Zone
This is the third and final instalment from Melbourne's Southern Sons. Having reached a peak with their previous two albums (both worth obtaining by the way), they spend a bit of time out of the limelight before coming back into the fray four years later wih this effort 'Zone'. Not as lush as the other two, but by no means have they lost their flair for the melodic.

Spiro, Mark - 1996 Now Is Then, Then Is Now
This is how people should associate Spiro with this genre of music. Classic hooks and melting moments, topped off by some intelligence melded into the lyrics.

Stormkro - 1996 Some Odd Years
One of the better American indie discs to cross my desk in the mid-70's. What we have is a Los Angeles band enormously influenced by early Styx.

Tepper, Robert - 1996 No Rest For The Wounded Heart
After a few years away doing different things, Robert Tepper returned to the AOR fold for 1996's 'No Rest For The Wounded Heart' for German label MTM Music.