Ratings: 2=crap; 4=poor; 6=average; 8=great; 10=superb!!!

Summer 2019 - Autumn 2019:

LEE AARON-Power, Soul, Rock 'N' Roll, Live In Germany (Rough Trade)
Hail to the Metal Queeeeeeeen!!!!! The glorious days of LEE AARON are long gone, but the memories still remain. Remember those blushing cheeks, when seeing the article in Oui magazine? I also have very fond memories about that show with BON JOVI in Tilburg and the video clip of "Metal Queen". Those were the days. After some flirting sidesteps with pop and jazz, Lee has returned to her one and only true love, the heavy rock. Her brand new live CD "Live In Germany" has captured this quite nicely and contains thirteen rock songs, worthy of about a full hour. And if you like to see what Lee looks like nowadays, you must buy the extensive package, which has the DVD of the same show. To my big surprise, she starts off with the DEEP PURPLE classic "Mistreated". Perhaps she's showing the audience, that she knows her classics very well and this is certainly not half done. She came to rock and rock is what you get here. She may not be near to David Coverdale in his hay day, but I like this version a lot. I guess, it's rather difficult to sort out a decent play list of your whole career. The new material must be there and the old school metal heads want to hear the early stuff, too. "Tomboy" is easy on the ear and very catchy, but I'm really thrilled when the first drum beats of "Rock Candy", made famous by MONTROSE, sound from the speakers. This is another tribute to a great band from the seventies. "Metal Queen" is a true classic and she knows it. I still remember all the lyrics word for word. As far as I'm concerned, this song is surely one of the highlights here, mainly for nostalgic reasons. The guitar work in "Fire And Gasoline" may possibly remind you of JIMI HENDRIX in a way. Sean Kelly is the guitarist, who founded HELIX back in the days. He is now accompanying Lee on this tour. The intro is "Powerline" is based on keyboards, which adds a lot of melody to the very firm startup of this show. Just think of BON JOVI here, whose influences are definitely not far away. In the second part of the song, the band is turning it into another LEE AARON classic for a short moment, when they do "Lady Of The Darkest Night", what a nice surprise. It will really make you smile. "I'm A Woman" is another cover song, this time of BO DIDDLEY and Lee reveals, that she could make love to a crocodile (without any teeth, I guess). Maybe three covers on a total of thirteen songs a bit much too much, but the high level of performance and the beautiful voice of Lee will surely make up for that. "Some Girls Do" is a true rock song. It was written in 1991, which is almost thirty years ago and before she discovered and played jazz music. "Sex With Love" is a sexy and very catchy song and it also belongs to my favorite songs on this live disc. "Barely Holding On" is a showcase of Lee's voice, because it perfectly brings it all together in this emotional ballad, which contains a great guitar solo as well. After that, it's time to sing along, before the band starts off with "Whatcha Do To My Body". I still remember this video clip quite well. It was one of the highlights of the album, stuffed with many catchy rock tunes. And she's a real talent in writing cool and catchy tunes, I can assure you. Just have a listen to "Diamond Baby" to catch my drift. The final song is right up my street, because I still dig the old school LEE AARON sound best and "Hot To Be Rocked" fits right into that very category. Lee is still hot to be rocked. I'd really hoped for a few more oldies from the very beginning of her career, but you can't have it all, can you? In general I must admit, that I had a great time listening to these live recordings. The Fire And Gasoline Tour was in 2017, so these recordings are two years old for that matter. The band consisted of Lee Aaron on vocals and additional guitar, Sean Kelly on guitar and additional vocals, Dave Reimer on bass and vocals and John Cody on drums. On this tour, Kevin 'Toad' Saulner played the keyboards and guitar. For more info, go to: or [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AEGONIA-The Forgotten Song (independent/Metal Message)
AEGONIA hails from Bulgaria and they present their debut album, called "The Forgotten Song". It contains twelve tracks, worthy of about sixty-five minutes and a beautiful mix of gothic, folk, atmospheric and melodic metal. The songs rest upon the book "The Forgotten Song", written by Nea Stand. The album starts off with the sound of thunder and a spoken word intro, accompanied by acoustic guitars and some string arrangements. This may not sound like (heavy) metal at all, but the band switches over to a heavy beat soon, in which the spoken word part continues and the rhythm sounds a lot heavier. All ingredients you would expect are there. In "Rain Of Tears", the band shows what they are capable of in a lengthy and mystical song, that switches from atmospheric folky parts to loud guitar riffs. The overall sound is quite atmospheric though, yet very beautiful. Male vocals and female vocals are mixed with choir vocals. "With The Mist She Came" is on next and because of the acoustic guitars and violin, you might possibly see some figures approaching in the misty Bulgarian landscape. Just use your imagination a bit and visualize what the band is trying to say. The folkloristic instruments get a very prominent place in the sound of AEGONIA. Next to the acoustic guitars and violin, the band also uses a kaval, which is a traditional Bulgarian flute, and bagpipes. In the meantime we've arrived at "Restless Mind", in which the male growls have become a bit harsher yet they match very well with the up-tempo pace. The guitars ask for your attention, too. Obviously, their music contains a lot of variation. "Dreams Come To Me" is a short interlude with some acoustic guitars and male spoken word parts. It's the introduction to "Battles Lost And Won", which builds up to a more epic tale. In "The Offer", the female vocals have the upper hand and sometimes this reminds me a bit of the earlier MOONSPELL material. "The Stolen Song" contains some magic flute playing in this (again) very atmospheric song. It sounds quite moody but very well done. While at other times they throw in some heavy chords to reach the right balance to make it sound more metal. Just listen to "Gone", which is a good example here. There are violins and the magic between the interacting of the male and female vocals and also a more up-tempo part, in which the guitars get an equal share. I really love the angel-like vocals in "The Severe Mountains". It shows that the band are true masters in creating atmospheric gothic fantasy metal. AEGONIA has already shared the stage with the likes of THE FORESHADOWING, CHARM DESIGNER and ANTIMATTER and it would not be strange at all seeing them at one of the many fantasy metal festivals in the Western part of Europe. They have delivered a great album, that's for sure. "A Bitter Fate" is the next song and one more time the band will take you away on their fantasy journey, which breathes the atmosphere of Bulgaria, mixed with the metal of today. "The Ruins Of Aegonia" is the very last and short spoken word track with angel-like choir vocals. It closes this very promising debut album. I think that we will definitely hear a lot more from AEGONIA in the very near future. The band consists of Nikolay Nikolov on vocals, guitar, kaval, Elitsa Stoyanova on vocals and violin, Atanas Georgiev on bass and Ivan Kolev on drums. For more info, go to: or [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: November 25, 2019]