HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Imaginery - Long Lost Pride
(Lion Music)

This Greek-Swedish power metal consortium is the brainchild of pan-European journeyman Bob Katsionis, who pairs with Tears Of Anger vocalist Bjorn Jansson, who debuts with the band on this second album after a first record called Oceans Divine. The sound is signature speedy, melodic power metal with creamy production values, groovy, kick-ass drumming and keyboards that flick between old school and plain ol' dated - much like Stratovarius and Children Of Bodom. Bjorn's got a bit of a foreign accent, but his voice is filled with personality, recalling an amalgam of the great proto-power Swedish bands from the late '80s. On the surface, nothing special, but a palpable sense of underground mystique more Swedish than Greek kicks it a notch above.
Rating 7.5

Molly Hatchet - Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge

Kinda funny how southern rock meant lots of things in the '70s and '80s, like boogie, blues, hard rock, country, jazz and pop. Same thing with prog, which leaned toward jazz, pop, world, psych and classical. But here in the '00s, both southern rock and prog have been fully tinctured by metal riffs - prog metal is the dominant force in prog, and pretty much all the big southern rockers are as heavy as Blackfoot ever was. Molly Hatchet continue to be the most indicative of this pure definition of the sound, with Skynyrd only a shade more adventurous these days. Warriors is pretty much huge, ProTooled production and hard-charging guitars start to finish. Steam engine-voiced Phil McCormack sounds like Danny Joe Brown (recently deceased) and his lyrics don't go more than a line until the next southern clichˇ hands you a Bud (how's this one: "Don't let the screen door hit ya where the good Lord split ya"). John Galvin does Billy Powell, you get the requisite female backing vocals, and leader Bobby (whose very dear wife died unexpectedly in April last year) and returning axeman Dave Hlubek turn in boogie-fied riff after riff, resulting in an album of rootsy, but gleaming arena rock anthems that for some damn reason, have made Germany the band's home away from home. Still, the funny thing is how heavy and uptempo Hatchet is in the here and now, although this idea of turning in the thoroughly expected isn't going to win them stellar reviews.
Rating 6.5

Hard Reviews Page 3