The European Invasion!
New distribution for SPV and Frontiers/Now And Then
by Todd K. Smith

Finally! No more paying those steep import prices or outrageous shipping fees to get your favorite international release. This year two major distribution deals were signed enabling artists signed to Frontiers/Now And Then (UK) and SPV (Germany) to see their hard work widely available in the States. Oddly enough many of these bands are American and had to go overseas to secure a record deal due to lack of interest by US majors. Case in point New Jersey’s own Norway.

Formed by lead vocalist Glenn Pierson and guitarist Jim Santos and drawing their roots from the diverse styles of classic rock like Journey, Night Ranger and Def Leppard Norway fused a signature sound which got them noticed as early as 1993. Spending the next seven years fine-tuning their sound and building a solid lineup the band were ready to release Arrival. This is a monster recording bundled with powerful hooks, lush harmonies, and top-notch playing.

Heavily influenced by hard rock acts such as Thin Lizzy, UFO and Van Halen, Norwegian trio Street Legal have found a home in the upper-echelons of arena rock. Rehearsing for years as a cover act they took their time developing a reputation as an outstanding live act and perfecting their own original set. Determined to create a classy vintage hard-rock sound they wrote against the current trends and focused on what worked best. Thunderdome is a first attempt to get it right and exceeds all expectations.

The highly anticipated sixth recording from European superstars Ten lays waste to critical speculation that the group lacks the reach of a prize-fighter. Babylon picks up where last years phenomenal Spellbound left off continuing their foray into the world of concept recording. Hosting a richly orchestrated blend of sultry ballads, mid-tempo rockers and all out chest-beaters, the disc is a forced to be reckoned with. The group will headline the Godz Festival Nov. 4th in Manchester, England.

Lana Lane, the reigning queen of symphonic rock is another native setting fires across the pond. Releasing her fifth album Secrets Of Astrology. This superb rock epic can be placed somewhere between prog metal and mainstream rock representing a high technical standard of multi-layered instruments and highlighting the astounding technical talents of Lane and producer Erik Norlander. Lane’s band of minstrels includes Arjen Lucassen (g), David Victor (g), Tony Franklin (b), and Ed Warby (d). Lane’s voice is never buried under the music moving with strength and grace throughout. All her work at Abbey Road Studio has made a masterpiece for the international symphonic rock scene.

The magic of orchestrated metal spills over onto Ivory Tower as well. Here we have a German quintet picking up where Mozart left off. The band’s music gains momentum from vocalist André Jad Fischer’s expressive voice which moves through countless dexterous guitar parts and winds through cleverly placed orchestral passages entwining huge variation on arrangements. A highly polished piece certainly worth investigating.

Rhapsody’s Symphony Of Enchanted Lands is a phenomenon of Italian speed metal. They combine the intensity of guitar powered speed metal with the atmosphere of baroque and Middle Age music including majestic, epic melodies, lyrics inspired by legends, myths and fantasy and expert craftsmanship. A theoretical painting of sound and magic.

Also pickup Fair Warning’s-Four, Hugo’s - Time On Earth, Emerald Rain’s - Age Of Innocence and Bob Catley’s - Legends.

Websites: Frontiers, SPV, Now And Then Records