For me Yngwie Malmsteen reached a peak around 1990 and his ”Eclipse” album is certainly my all time favourite. I saw him live in Stockholm at a packed Johanneshovs Isstadion (a 10,000 capacity arena in which I had seen many other popular artist before his triumphant performance there) in early April 1990. Earlier that day he had signed 600 LPs and 200 CDs at a place called Åhlens in the City. I interviewed him backstage and that chat can be found on this blog (March 1 2015). Yngwie has always been kind to me, he even promoted my Deep Purple Forever! fanzine on camera once. I quite like this tribute to this album and artist Shawn Fulford ads his take on his work here.

Yngwie Malmsteen – ”Eclipse” Babymetalized

”I do not have much to say about it, it was done as a request. While I have a couple of Malmsteen albums from way back I did not really get into him. The cover was interesting though as it was obvious what changes I would make, and the photo of Moa was one I had not seen before. I had hoped to use Yui but could not find a photo I liked. Bad thing is I rushed posting it so there were a couple of mistakes only I would probably notice which I have since fixed” (Shawn Fulford, aka ”futon”).

(Classic Rock Calendar: April 1990)

Winterbane

Posted: July 23, 2021 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, Cool stuff, Magazines

Frozen Crown is an Italian Power Metal band formed in 2017 and “Winterbane” is their third studio album. The musicianship is next level, the songs are good and they sound excellent. They are fast becoming one of the premier bands and they deserve the recognition. Giada “Jade” Etro is a great singer. She could join Nightwish any day. Drummer Niso Tomasini is a true powerhouse and is just the kind of backing that any band needs to reach the real heights. He forms a solid backbone with bassist Francesco “Ikki” Zof. Then you have two guitarslingers of the highest order in Frederico Mondelli and Fabiola “Sheena” Bellomo. Two females and three men then, all performing with superb skill. The new album opens up with “Embrace The Night” and you are suddenly the passenger of a freight train moving in Warp Speed. And when they cover Judas Priest´s “Night Crawler” it really is the best metal I have heard in years. They need to make a video of that song so that they can reach out properly to the old school metal heads out there. For such a young act they are gaining ground fast. Millions are checking out their videos on YouTube. Moametal of Babymetal suggested Frozen Crown in an interview in Japanese Hedoban magazine (28) a few months ago and mentioned that she loved the song “Neverending” (over 7,400,000 views on YouTube) from the last album “Crowned In Frost”. You can see it in the comments of that video now. Frozen Crown thanked her in a video for the support a few weeks ago. When you have that kind of support, you are obviously going places. The Japanese market is so good for Frozen Crown now that they specifically mention their fans in Japan on the record sleeve of the new album. This is like the 1980s all over again, with the Japanese supporting the good bands right out of the gate. I think they enjoy good melodies.

(My shot of said album)

Commando 5455-5458

Posted: July 22, 2021 in Comics

Commando 5455-5458 is out today in the UK. Just search “Commando comics” should you want to subscribe.

(Covers courtesy of Commando)

IRON MAIDEN

Iron Maiden is set to release the 17th studio album “Senjutsu” on September 3. 10 tracks, 81 minutes, Double CD, Triple LP, produced by Kevin Shirley. The theme is obviously Japanese, which is pretty darned interesting. The cover art of a Samurai Eddie by Mark Wilkinson is awesome. The soundbytes I have heard so far sounds terrific. The first official video on YouTube (made in cooperation with fans from around the world), “The Writing On The Wall” was released on July 15 and has notched up well over 4,000,000 views so far. I sense that this will be a very big album for Iron Maiden. I know I will buy it.

VELVET INSANE

The new album from Swedish rockers Velvet Insane is out. I see good reviews all over the place (Classic Rock 290 just the other day). It is the return of the 1970s with a modern twist and I love that album cover. I guess the title – “Rock´n´Roll Glitter Suit” – says it all. I have ordered the Double LP (Gold Vinyl) and the CD.

OVER THE RAINBOW

Nothing to report, however… I just wish that somebody could give these guys a big bag of money and make sure that a few festivals was filmed. Best band in the Purple Family that never had official product on the market. I saw them in 2010 and it was great. It was like the perfect Rainbow reunion and Ritchie Blackmore was not even present (although his son Jurgen was, and Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Rondinelli, Greg Smith and Paul Morris). They did shows playing Rainbow hits from the classic years from 2008 (initially with Tony Carey) to 2011. I will never forget the concert opener “Tarot Woman”. Extremely powerful. This needs to be addressed before it is too late. They had the blessing of Ritchie Blackmore, it was great, somebody get cracking!

(My shot of Over The Rainbow, Iron Maiden and Velvet Insane album covers inserted)

Nice book-a-zine that is on sale in the UK right now from Future (the publisher of Classic Rock and Metal Hammer). Jam packed with history and everything under the (rising) sun, this is actually a darned good read. I think I spent a couple of hours reading it, which is good value for money for any publication. Babymetal is not in it (I suspect that we have a fan of Kiss in the editorial team though, since they mention the 2015 collaboration with Japanese Kawaii Pop unit Momoiro Clover Z in the music coverage). Fans of Babymetal and Sakura Gakuin will find many references from Japanese culture though, no doubt about it. You just have to be deep enough in the Fox hole. If you have any kind of interest in Japan, then this is for you.

(My shot of said publication)

Reflections

Posted: July 19, 2021 in Classic Rock, Cool stuff, Magazines

Judas Priest is to release the mother of all boxes on October 15. Titled “Reflections – 50 Heavy Metal Years Of Music” it will give you 42 CDs of music, every single studio and live album and then some. There will also be a 16 track single CD version and a double LP (Red Vinyl). Now I love Judas Priest but I have a slight problem with the 50 years concept. The early history is a bit dodgy. The band was formed in 1969 but that version did not record and kind of fizzled out. By 1970 the band was resurrected (now with KK Downing and Ian Hill) and faces that we would later come to recognise started to appear (Rob Halford in 1973, Glenn Tipton in 1974). Their first gig was in March 1971. The first album was not released until 1974 though and that serves only as a reminder that this band really struggled in the wilderness for five years. And I was around in the 1970s and it really was not until the tail end of that decade (say 1977-1988) that they were making inroads to any kind of real popularity. By then they had a major label in CBS, which helped. In contrast, you really had a lot of bands that made it (after the Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple generation) way before they did. Some of these would not make it into the 1980s, but of course Judas Priest did eventually come up with the Heavy Metal angle and that made them the iconic band and the supreme influencers that they are seen as today. Still, the band has to celebrate 50 years at some point and 2021 it is then. The false start in 1969 has been rejected and Rob Halford is broadly seen as the original singer. As for the box itself, it is good to see a band celebrate their past. It is obviously aimed at people that can afford this sort of thing and the CD/LP versions are there to give everybody a chance to jump in. Priest may well have two or three records in them yet (they are working on the next one now), it has been a great journey but this is not over. Right now they will have a really good product to sell as they head out on the road, a reminder of who they are and what has been. I will expect them to get quite a few magazine covers in late 2021. Boxes are great that way. This will set them up nicely for the next studio album.

(My shot of some classic magazines with Priest covers – Swedish Hammer 2 1984, UK Metal Hammer 2 1990 and German Rock Hard 371, 2018)

Found this the other day, a poster I printed back in 1981 when I had the Deep Purple Freak Society club (and the Deep Purple Magazine fanzine) going here in Sweden. Brings back good memories from when Whitesnake visited Sweden for the first time back in the day. I would eventually print a much larger one later on (already showcased on this blog) but this one is still pretty cool. I should probably get this framed as well.

(My shot of said poster – photos by Michael Johansson, Ola Wahlsten and Peter Liander)

Spent a couple of hours this morning updating the (not so) old Babymetal collection. Binder number 10 has been opened and I have changed all the binders so that they all look the same, making the look more appealing. It was Babymetal that had me pick up this hobby again and I am now knee deep in getting all my collections in order (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake etc). New binders, new plastic pockets. It is costing me an arm and a leg but the end result is rather nice. They are probably wondering what the hell I am doing at my local book store. They certainly look happy when I pop in…

(My shots, the Babymetal spread is from the recent Metal Hammer issue that had three Babymetal covers)

After having published three Tex Willer adventures in hardcover format in recent years in Sweden, Ades Media has decided to relaunch Tex in paperback (way better choice in my opinion). First title is “Sierskans spådom” (translates roughly to “Fortunetellers Prediction” and it is presented like the flagship title (same format) of the publishing house, Dylan Dog. Perhaps they are testing the waters? There is nothing here that indicates that this will be an ongoing title but I hope that the support for Tex Willer is still strong enough in this country for it to happen. In any case, here we are and we need to get the word out. Support Tex Willer now!

(My shot of said title – cover by Felmang)

Relax With Beetle Bailey

Posted: July 16, 2021 in Comics, Cool stuff

Bought the Swedish Beetle Bailey Summer Special (Knasen 12-13 2021) and I quite enjoyed the trip down memory lane. The Swedish Knasen comic book was launched in 1970 and it looks like it is still going strong. This title also features comics like Hi & Lois, Hägar The Horrible, The Wizard Of Id, Redeye, Tundra, B.C and Zits. This issue also had an eight page advertising apendix in which the publishing company (Egmont) offers subscriptions.

The titles in question represents about half of the Swedish comic book scene and the titles you see here are Fantomen (The Phantom), 91:an (Swedish Beetley Bailey type comic that goes way back), Agent X9 (Modesty Blaise, Corrigan, Rip Kirby, Johnny Hazard etc), Knasen (Beetle Bailey), Kalle Anka (Donald Duck), Pondus (excellent comic from Norway), Kalle Anka Klassiker (Donald Duck Classics), Kalle Ankas Pocket (Donald Duck Pocketbook), Uti Vår Hage (Swedish comic), Humorkavalkad (Classic Swedish comics), Hälge (Swedish comic), Djurliv (Peanuts, Sherman´s Lagoon, Swamp, Boes and Little Dog Lost etc) and finally 87:an (companion title to 91:an).

(My shots of said publication etc)