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Naturally we are all going between a lot of emotions, sadness, worry, shock, confusion, even anger.

As for Stratovarius, as you perhaps know there is a long tour coming up with Helloween, and with the surgery and therapy that will now follow there is no way Jörg can do the first part of the tour.

Mustaine comes clean in his recent autobiography, saying “MD” represents his initials reversed, and they thought “45” represented Ving’s initials. Only premium musicians were enlisted to assist Michael in the realization of his vision, resulting in outstanding performances from such choice players as bassists Bunny Brunel, Adam Nitti, Dave Harbour, and James Martin, and drummers Marco Minnemann and Mike Haid along with Bernard Wright supplying a great keyboard solo on the excellent “Seizure Salad.” Jazz-fusion is not going to be to everyone’s liking, naturally, but while material like “Rocket Surgery” may not at first make sense to ears unaccustomed to the style, a few listens should have even those usually averse to outside playing enjoying the clever rhythmic and melodic structures contained here, especially on more the accessible cuts like “Pathos” and “Ocean Blues.” So another killer release from Michael Harris, truly a master at his craft! John starts the album off with the funky Hendrix meets Free rocker “Let It Shine” and you are immediately hit with not only the man’s six string acumen but also his quality as a vocalist.

– Neal Woodall (Mystic [email protected]) JOHN NORUM – PLAY YARD BLUES (A-/B ) Mascot Records, 2010 10 tracks, RT: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] Europe guitarist extraordinaire John Norum’s latest solo album finally sees the light of day in the form of PLAY YARD BLUES, and despite the title leading you to believe John may have gone in some kind of a Gary Moore “reborn bluesman” direction, the album has sonically more in common with the ’70s hard rock greats John was influenced by than B. John has become somewhat famous for his awesome covers and he provides no less than three here: a cool version of Thin Lizzy’s “It’s Only Money,” a dead-on rendition of Frank Marino’s “Ditch Queen,” and a melodically pleasing take on Mountain’s “Travellin’ In The Dark.” A bit of a Whitesnake influence shows up on the excellent “Over And Over” and John even manages to work in a heavy rocker with the Leif Sundin fronted “Born Again,” John’s fiery but always tasty fretwork well represented throughout.

Musically Rob keeps things fairly basic but he knows a great riff when he hears one and ICON 2 is chock full of ’em, mostly courtesy of ace axeman John 5.

Personally I find myself getting a bit weary of Rob’s vocal style after a few songs but your mileage may vary.

You know the big hits are here, including White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65,” “More Human Than Human” and “Dragula,” but you also get some cool tracks that have not been included on previous “best of” releases, including “Meet The Creeper” and “American Witch,” plus three cuts from his new album HELLBILLY DELUXE 2.

* *** ROCK HARD RIDE FREE *** * by Tim Wadzinski ([email protected]) -I’ve been meaning to wax poetic about Roman numerals for a while. On TRANZ-FUZED, Michael skillfully navigates his way through the intricacies of jazz-fusion, a genre I love to delve into when not listening to metal.

I confess I just found out what the title of Black Sabbath’s “E5150” means: “EVIL.” “E” is just “E,” “5” is Roman numeral “V,” “1” is Roman numeral “I,” and “50” is Roman numeral “L.” How ’bout that? This reminded me of that old Dave Mustaine side project, MD.45, which he recorded with Fear’s Lee Ving, because I remembered something about that band name being based off of Roman numerals. Michael is of course known as a “shredder,” and you’ll certainly find plenty of his astonishing technique on “Wizard Of Odd,” “Left Of Right,” and “Professor Grunklesplat’s Math Assignment,” but Michael always keeps the music interesting without belaboring his talent.

The album is dedicated to Michelle Meldrum Norum who sadly passed away two years ago, but melancholic brooding is not part of the equation here.

John and Michelle’s young son Jake makes an appearance on the album cover playing a mini Les Paul, surely a sign of more good things to come from the Norum family in the future.

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