The best melodic rock you can buy this month
Dave Ling on the latest releases from Pink Cream 69, Heaven and Earth, Babylon AD, Target and Sweet & Lynch
Pink Cream 69 - Headstrong
A dozen albums into what is now a 30-year career, German band Pink Cream 69 still struggle to clamber out of the drawer marked ‘cult heroes’ – on this side of the Channel, at least. Their colourful mix of hard rock, power metal and hook-friendly AOR has changed little since the arrival of Burnley-born lead singer David Readman as co-founder Andi Deris’s replacement way back in 1994. Readman’s delivery is powerful, rich and downright melodious, complementing the boisterously addictive choruses of Bloodsucker, No More Fear and the ballads Man Of Sorrow and Vagrant Of The Night.
The long-term presence of bass player Dennis Ward as Pink Cream 69’s in-house producer has been another massive bonus, and with this album the Texan – fast becoming the finest juggler of melodic hard rock with harder elements – has once again applied the Midas touch.Initial quantities of Headstrong include a bonus live album recorded in Ludwigsburg back in 2013.Come on in, there’s never been a better time to see what the fuss is about. (8/10)
Heaven And Earth - Hard To Kill
Featuring the world-class vocals of Joe Retta, Heaven And Earth set the bar sky-high with their 2013 album Dig. With new album Hard To Handle, from the Burn-esque Hard To Kill to the simmering LA Blues and the chest-beating Monster, the Los Angeles band once again deliver an irresistible Hammond organ- and Stratocaster-driven reminder of why the 1970s was such a special era. (9/10)
Babylon AD - Revelation Highway
San Francisco band Babylon AD are probably unique in that the same five guys have featured in the band in four periods of activity over the past three decades. Sure enough, there’s a comfortable ease to Fool On Fire and One Million Miles.
Revelation Highway, their fourth studio album, offers a pretty convincing advert for sticking to your guns. (7/10)
Target - In Range
It’s difficult to believe that it’s three years now since Jimi Jamison passed away, or that this shelved third album from the singer’s pre-Survivor band Target has lain gathering dust in the vaults since 1979.
For such long-delayed releases to be anything more than mere curio is rare indeed, but In Range turns out an exception to the rule. (7/10)
Sweet & Lynch - Unified
The second album from Stryper frontman Michael Sweet and current Lynch Mob/ former Dokken guitarist George Lynch continues right from where they left off two years ago, with helium-tinged vocals paired with equally heroic guitar runs and some surprisingly weighty riffs. Once again the results, notably the Queen-esque Walk, really hit the spot. (8/10)