This dense, furious and complex slab of work will transport you immediately back to the era of the exalted power trio. Fans of psychedelic power rock blues exalt, if you loved everything about Hendrix, Marino and Trower, this modern and ferocious wall of sound will have you, and your speakers begging for mercy. I can only imagine how the guitars felt when this was done, every manner of riff wrung out of their souls. There should be a danger warning about listening when driving.

Formed in 2002, Blindstone, comprising Martin Anderson (guitar and vox) and also featuring the accomplished talents of Jesper Bunk (bass) and Anders Hvidtfeldt (drums) hail from Denmark. Rise Above is the third, and most polished and professional work thus far from the trio. The writing, production and engineering are uniformly superb. The first two albums, Manifesto (2003) and Freedom’s Calling (2008) , also on the excellent Grooveyard label, ”keeping REAL music alive!” are also well worth investigating, particularly the second which features a lengthy guitar war between Martin and Lance Lopez.

Rise Above comprises ten tunes, including the cover tunes “He’s Calling” by Frank Marino, a total rocked out version of the Isley’s “Up the Ladder” and the fantastic version of Hendrix’s “House Burning Down” with guest appearance by Poul Hapberg, renowned Danish blues fusion guitarist. That leaves seven original numbers including a scintillating guest solo spot from Ty Tabor of King’s X on the phenomenal title track, “Rise Above”. I am guessing Marty had KX in mind when writing this tune, because the vocal timbre and delivery are very reminiscent o Dug Pinnick. All of the tunes feature Marty’s impassioned vocals over searing guitar riffage, a modern take on that classic sound. The rhythm section alternately rocks, caresses or funks out based on the song’s demands. Highlights for me were the title track, “Keep the Rock Alive” and the excellent Marino cover.

Once again, fans of the classic era of the power trio, you will not be disappointed, this band deserves to be heard and all the success in the world. Victor Borge would be proud  \m/.
 Review by Mike Blackburn
Rating : 92%



Released 15th January 2010 on Lion Music

A new band in the melodic hard rock mold from Danish guitarist Torben Enevoldsen, who along with several instrumental releases is involved with the bands Section A and Fatal Force.  For Acacia Avenue Torben has decided to have some fun with some good time melodic rock n roll and invited some fine rock vocalists in the guise of Tony Mills (TNT, Shy), Geir Rönning (Radioactive, Prisoner), Torben Lysholm (Pangea, Mysterell) and Lars Säfsund (W.O.A.) to front the tunes, whilst Enevoldsen himself takes lead vocals on a brace of tracks.

The album gets off to a strong start with Tony Mills’ Geoff Tate esque vocals on “Don’t Call Me Tonight” and its a fine opener, rich, melodic, catchy chorus and nice riffing from Torben before Geir Rönning adds his more accessible vocals for “Hold On”, another fine track in its own right with a quite glorious chorus.  Lars Säfsund crops up next for the pure AOR laid back mid tempo groove of “An Illusion” which harks nicely back to the mid 80’s with its jangling keys, its quite Toto in feel and another fine success.  “Jamie’s In Love” sees Enevoldsen handle lead vocals and he has a perfectly fine voice for this LA hard rock style melodic groove with a slight Van Halen feel to the main riff.  Granted the lyrics maybe clichéd but it all adds to the vibe of yesteryear. Torben Lysholm lays down some smooth vocals over another very strong AOR tune in “Can’t Make You Stay” which is a great track from start to finish.  The instrumental “Mad Antenna” is maybe not quite fitting with the rest of the material, but there is no denying the first rate fretwork, this one could have been made into a vocal track as it has a very strong hook.  Tony Mills appears again for “Wait No More”, a more laidback number than his other number and a little more pomp in its approach, but once again there are enough hooks to hang a whole classroom of coats on.  “No Looking Back” sees Geir Rönning back at the mic and his vocals sound a little reminiscent of Kings X’s Doug Pinnick here.  There is a nice mix between major and minor here and another heavy dose of 80’s American melodic rock about the track and it’s a nice modern throwback to that time.  “Just Wanna Be With You” sees Torben Lysholm rock a little more on his second track and this track wouldn’t be out of place on a Bad English album.  Enevoldsen’s appearance at the mic for “Let Go” is home to a darker vibe than his other vocal, but again the result is good.  Closer “Digging” is to these ears the weakest track on offer, its not a stinker but seems to lack the overall quality of other numbers so the album doesn’t quite end with a bang.

With their self titled debut Acacia Avenue has delivered quite a surprising album.  On the first few listens the album may appear quite one dimensional but give those numerous melodies and hooks time to sink and and the album really reveals itself.  Given that this band comes from someone best as a highly technical guitarist its really shows the talent Enevoldsen possess as the guitar work plays second fiddle to the quality of song and that is to be praised, many a guitar name falls at this hurdle when in a band format so kudos go out to Enevoldsen.  If you like your rock full of hooks, with a melodic slant and an 80’s feel yet with a modern and powerful production then check out Acacia Avenue, it might just be the surprise melodic rock album of 2010 already.
Hot Spots : Hold On, An Illusion, Can’t Make You Stay, No Looking Back
Rating : 90%