[Album Recommendation] Age of Reflection – In The Heat Of The Night (AOR)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

You know I am always on the hunt for melodic rock treasures since this is the type of rock music I am mostly fond of. Some people still believe that the era of AOR is long gone and that this used to be a big thing in the ‘80s, however I gotta say, those people don’t even have a slightest clue of how the genre have evolved and spread in the past few years. So many outstanding young artists are responsible for the AOR boom in recent years and great pioneers of AOR are launching spectacular comebacks so it’s safe to say, we are entering a new AOR era!

Discovering bands that bring back the faith in me and make me feel alive again is basically what I live for. Sometime ago, through the power of social media, the amazing guys from the Swedish AOR band, Age of Reflection (love what they did with the name), reached out to me and introduced me to their music. I didn’t need much convincing or extra effort to understand that this band will most certainly fall under the category of “great new AOR bands you must hear now”. I am already familiar with the magic of Swedish rock musicians, so it was not such a big surprise for me to discover yet another Swedish treasure that deserves all the praises. Anyways, we are here today to talk about Age of Reflection and their “In the Heat of the Night” album which I firmly believe needs to reach out to as many fans out there as possible. I want to introduce their music and hopefully bring to the table something new to people who are hungry for something fresh and of high quality.

First of all, let me provoke you and restore that faith in you, guys with this song…

With me, as you know, when it comes to music is all about discovering more in a song than just a bunch of well-written lines, melodies and good riffs. With me, it’s about the emotions, substance, the soul of the music and its ability to quickly deliver it to your senses. That’s not all I am looking for in a melodic rock album. I am deeply connected to the ‘80s rock music values and when I see bands these days that are not just incorporating them in their music but are adding something more, that’s when I know I have a real gem in front of my eyes. All this and more I found in Age of Reflection and their “In the Heat of the Night” album.

I want to present my sincere adoration for the great vocals by Lars Nygren who is certainly one of the most vocally-attractive musicians on the current revived Swedish melodic rock scene. “Blame it on My Heart”, “Borderline” and “The Mirror Never Lies” for instance (which happen to be three of my favorite songs on the release) probably wouldn’t have had the same effect on me if it wasn’t for the captivating vocals. Speaking of songs, I should probably mention that “Dying for Your Love” brought out a certain fire in my heart which doesn’t happen as often as you might think. Watch out for it – it’s unforgettable. It’s time to give the high fives also to Carl Berglund, who is not just the main reason for the existence of this band in the first place, but is also one of the masters of the guitar and keyboards. He, along with the bassist Jan Skärming, gave birth to an exciting project which you didn’t know you need in your life, till you hear it!

“In The Heat of the Night” came out last year and it’s a little bit of a shame that I just discovered it but better late than never. I want to heavily emphasize to my readers that this is a band with a musical significance and their songs carry a meaning and strength which, at least to me, is the most essential component on the road to success. Spread the love and enjoy! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I hope I brought something great to you with my humble publication.

Cheers to more!

Here is me, happily holding a great new addition to my beloved collection. I can’t wait to see what’s next for those talented guys.

“The Mirror Never Lies”

“Dying for Your Love”

age of reflection
Age of Reflection

BAND MEMBERS:

Lars Nygren – lead vocals
Carl Berglund – guitar, backing vocals
Jonas Nordqvist – guitar, backing vocals
Jens Rüttgeroth – keyboards, backing vocals
Jan Skärming – bass, backing vocals
Peppe Vikman – drums, backing vocals

Links:

Official Website: https://www.ageofreflection.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AGEOFREFLECTION/

Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/ageofreflection/

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/AgeOfReflection


References:
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Music Shopping in Norway or How to Fill a Suitcase with CDs

This July, I had a little trip to Norway to visit relatives and relax a little bit. I have never been to Norway before which is weird considering the fact that my parents have been working as musicians there for such a long time. While I was in Norway, I had to, of course, do a little music shopping and explore some of the stores available near me. I mean after all, Norway is famous for its solid rock/metal scene and so many outstanding bands and artists came from there. I had high expectations of their record stores and wasn’t disappointed. I also knew that Norway will offer me a selection of CDs and records which would be very difficult to find in my country. That’s why I couldn’t wait till I see what I can dig up.

I was staying in Sarpsborg – a lovely little city, full of atmosphere and great landscapes. I must say, I really loved it! At the very center of Sarpsborg, there was this cozy little record store, named “Retro Vinyl & CD” where I found most of the CDs. The store was well stocked, it offered a wide selection of new and pre-loved CDs and vinyl records and last but not least, the staff was incredibly kind and spoke English very well. I have nothing but great things to say about it!

On my last day in Norway, I visited Oslo, which was equally appealing. I loved the dynamics, the architecture, the global atmosphere coming out of it! I visited two record stores in Oslo – Big Dipper and Råkk & Rålls. Big Dipper was very fancy and offering vinyl records only. Råkk & Rålls was the place for me – a true music paradise, full of endless selections and tons of rare items. I got lost inside it, honestly! The staff was also very helpful and kind and assisted me in finding what I was looking for so quickly! If I have the chance to visit Oslo again, I’m coming back here for sure! 

Now, let me show you a few photos of the stores and the things I got from my trip to Norway. Some of those CDs are impossible to get anywhere else except Norway which makes them very valuable to me. Others are easy to get but since I didn’t have them in my collection, it was the perfect time. In terms of prices, I have to say music in Norway costs money. Don’t expect a 4.99USD brand new CD. A second-hand CD was around 5-10EURO and a vinyl record starts from 7EURO and can go up to 30-40EURO and more. Anyhow, it’s photo time! By the way, I haven’t removed the prices because I think it’s charming. Might ruin the photo but I decided to keep them!


This is how “Retro Vinyl & CD” looked from the outside and inside. Very welcoming, isn’t it?

sarpsborg cd shop

Rakk & Ralls in Oslo – what a view!

rakk ralls oslo

You know how much I love TNT and me being in Norway meant that I just had to buy all the TNT I could find. Coming across a TNT CD in Bulgaria is almost impossible and now was my chance to stock up on their music. I couldn’t find “Intuition” – my favorite album of theirs which made me quite sad but there’s always a next time!

TNT – TNT (1982)
TNT – The Big Bang – The Essential Collection (2003)
TNT – Give Me a Sign (2003)
TNT – My Religion (2004)
TNT – All The Way to the Sun (2005)

tnt cds

TNT.jpg

tony

Whitesnake – Good to be Bad (2008)

whitesnake good to be bad

Kingdom Come – Kingdom Come (1987)

kingdom come

Def Leppard – Now (Collectors Edition) (2002)

Def Leppard – Slang (Strictly Limited Edition) (1996)

Classic Albums: Def Leppard – Hysteria (2002)

def leppard

def leppard slang

Bonfire – Fireworks (1987)

bonfire fireworks

John Norum – Total Control (1987)

john norum total control.jpg

A-ha – Hunting High and Low (1985)

aha

Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning (1983)

Thin Lizzy

Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I (1991)

Guns n Roses - Use Your Illusion 1

Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)

pink floyd a momentary lapse of reason

Audioslave – Out of Exile (2005)

The Best of & the Rest Of Original Pistols Live (1985)

audioslave sex pistols collage 1

CREED – Human Clay (1999)

Van Morrison – Super Hits (1999)

Simply Red – Stars (1991)

collage 2

I also got Paul Young’s “Other Voices” (1990), Chris Isaak’s “Silvertone” (1985), Kenny G’s “Breathless” (1992), “Broken Dreams” – a compilation CD featuring modern-day love rock anthems and Maroon 5’s “Songs about Jane” (2002).

cds together

I also got my FAVORITE Helix album, “Long Way from Heaven” which I was so happy to find…Finally I added it to my collection.

me and helix

Tina Turner’s “Break Every Rule” (1986) was a gift from Retro Vinyl&CD because I got so many things from their store. It’s great because you all know how much I love Tina Turner and I didn’t have this album actually on vinyl! What a great gesture…

tina turner break every rule

I think this is pretty much it. One more country added to my list of countries in which I did record shopping. I really enjoyed my time and I think I got plenty of great music for my collection. My suitcase wasn’t that big so imagine putting all that on the way back, along with my other belongings. Once again, it took me forever to close it haha. All worthy, though.

Hope you enjoyed my photos and stories.


P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

Do You Still Buy CDs ?

cd_publication.png

 

I have been collecting CDs, audiocassettes and vinyl for as long as I can remember. I grew up among the records of my parents till eventually I became a collector myself. There was always something so real and thrilling about holding a CD or an audiocassette, opening it, admiring the photobook inside, and playing it on your Panasonic player which was probably older than your parents. Then, it’s your birthday and you get the latest album of your favorite artist as a gift from your parents! I swear, these were the best times! I have never begged for toys or any other stuff – all I wanted were more and more records. It was the ‘90s after all – music was everywhere, MTV was at its finest, new and interesting pop stars were coming out each and every second. Along with that technology was developing and we got the chance to purchase and enjoy music systems, producing a sound with a much higher quality than before. It was essential for every household to have a stereo and a shelf with a long line of CDs or audiocassettes. I guess it was a sign of being cool and trendy. People were obsessed with music, were devoted fans and were still passionately buying the latest albums of their favorite or not-so-favorite but currently popular artist.

The ‘90s are long gone, however. Along with them, numerous practices, trends and values in music disappear. Then, there was this little thing called the Internet, which completely changed the face of the music industry. I cannot just blame the Internet for the fact that the industry changed on a worldwide level or for the fact that people stopped buying CDs. However, we can’t but think about it for a little bit. Yes, technology did reach unthinkable highs and now, in 2016 we even have the whole world in our pockets. What is the direct consequence of such technological advancements on the music industry and record sales? –Well, it’s pretty obvious, I think. Everyone went digital –downloading, online streaming, online everything… I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; I’m just trying to analyze the factors that led to people stop purchasing CDs. In addition to that, people and their attitude to music changed a little bit, I think. I cannot say why but I do believe that people don’t really value music the same way as before. Yes, we do have favorite artists, we do have our favorite songs and we do quote our favorite lyrics but everything is so temporary. Music nowadays is not “timeless” or memorable. Music nowadays is seasonal and people do enjoy and love it but for a limited amount of time. On top of that, there are so many genres, so many artists, so many trends, so many websites and so many ways to be exposed to music. Sometimes I feel like the general public cannot really establish a strong relationship with an artist that may lead to picking up your keys and wallet, going to the nearest record store and buying their CD. But how can you establish a strong relationship with the artists nowadays? Maybe it’s just me but I cannot relate with pop artists nowadays, I just can’t… they are too many and their music sounds the same so NO, I’m not going to buy Beyoncé or Katy Perry’s latest CD.

However, old-school rock’n’rollers like myself somehow still keep on purchasing records and CDs. Numerous classic rockers are also releasing or re-mastering their previous works from the ‘70s and ‘80s and people keep on buying them. Why? It’s generational. We grew up with a different mindset and a different way of thinking when it comes to music and its value. We have outstanding bands and artists such as Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, etc. and they still mean a lot to us so we still support them and still try to find that last piece of the puzzle needed to complete our record/CD collection…We still get excited and amazed when they release a new album, simply because they are this dying breed of musicians that still carry something so special in them – something that reminds us of times when music was good and even though it was still all about the money, artists knew how to create timeless classics. Same goes with other artists from other non-rock genres – Pop/RnB/Blues, etc.

Overall, CDs can offer so many things – quality of sound, durability, variety, longevity, a chance to support your favorite artists, etc. However, the reason why I believe that people should buy CDs is to basically feed their “musical soul”. I’m telling you – if you love music and are not just the regular “I listen to what’s trendy nowadays” person, there’s nothing more satisfying than opening a brand new CD, looking though the photobook, reading through the stories till you finally take out the CD and play it. You feel so good – it’s like part of the artist’s soul is there with you and it took a physical form.

What I’m trying to say here is that based on my observations, conversations and interviews with many of my fellow college students and friends, I did conclude that nowadays people don’t buy CDs because they cannot establish a strong relationship with the artists. Is it because the music and the musicians are too many and don’t know how to create meaningful music or it’s because people don’t feel the need to give money for CDs when they can download it for free, I cannot be sure. All I want to say is that CDs is the type of physical media that can bring so much to you and your day. On top of that it’s not just about the CD – it’s about the whole experience and feeling you get from it. You go to the record store, spend some time looking, listening to and observing through the numerous records, till you finally make a choice. A CD is so much more than just a physical object – it’s a way to experience music on a much higher level and with a much stronger emotion. Keep on buying CDs if you are a true music lover!

 

P.S. These are just my views and opinions I quickly wrote down. Don’t take it too hard and don’t think of it as the ultimate truth. Feel free to express your reasons why you buy/don’t buy CDs! I will be more than happy to read them!

Cheers