Melodic Hard Rock
Melodic hard rock is still dominated by Scandinavian bands. W.e.t., Eclipse and Creye came up with almost flawless albums. Strangely still unsigned Nestor joined the club with a great debut album, while Ronnie Atkins, Crazy Lixx and Wig Wam all released very listenable solo CD’s. Leverage and Seventh Crystal also came up with albums that definitely deserve attention.
Non-Scandinavian highlights include the ever dependable Robin McAuley and Brazilian newcomers Spektra. Lee Aaron came up with a varied album that ranks among her best and Chez Kane‘s debut also catapulted us right back to the great female fronted bands of the 80’s.
Tim‘s brilliant album is basically the 1983 unreleased successor of the semi classic second Trillion album, that luckily was dug up by MelodicRock Records. Archeology apart 2021 also saw a classy and entaining Joseph Williams solo album, a remarkably good Steve Moody EP and a return to form of Houston.
In Scandinavia some promising new bands debuted. Memoria Avenue and Zelbo with pure AOR that leaves little to desire. Art Of Illusion‘s added some cinematic hints and Cap Outrun mixed AOR with progressive rock to great effect. Kent Hilli released his excellent solo debut and will continue to shine in Giant from now on.
On the softer side of things there’s the captivating synth rock of LeBrock and the modern pop rock debut of Levara with Trevor Lukather.
Blues Rock is a popular sub genre with a lot of worthwhile releases. Gov’t Mule interpreted classics as only they can do and Bernie Marsden showed respect to the Chess and King classics in his own very effective style.
Young Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram released a very good second album and Samantha Fish showed again why she wins so many blues awards. Although not a pure blues rocker, Jax Hollow is a newcomer to keep an eye upon. The same goes for Dirty Honey.
Ayron Jones excellent latest album also draws from more sub genres but has a heavy blues rock foundation in Gary Clark Jr. and Jimi Hendrix style.
Some interesting newcomers in 2021 include the rather modern Mammoth WVH (Wolfgang Van Halen), young all female band Plush, and Life Of A Hero with Russ Grimmett. Inglorious delivered an almost perfect fourth album, while Mother Road‘s second album proved to be another piece of timeless rock. That something good can come out of a lockdown was shown by Heavy Water with Biff and Seb Byford.
In Southern Rock Georgia stil stands tall with standard-bearer Blackberry Smoke‘s You Hear Georgia and heavier newcomers The Georgia Thunderbolts. Ghost Hounds second album is another highlight in the genre.
Seasoned guitarist Robben Ford added an amazing and very listenable instrumental album to his impressive oeuvre.
Interesting newcomer is Navian that debuted with an instrumental Progressive Metal album in Plini and Animals As Leaders style. Also worth your attention is Estonian guitarist Toomas Vanem with his second instrumental solo album.