Review by Richard Henry for MPM
Do Sweden have a monopoly on outstanding A.O.R bands?? They seem to be pumping out some unbelievable bands at the minute!
These guys have been more in the headlines recently for losing vocalist Eric Gronwall to Skid Row than about their own musical endeavors.
So, entering back in for the new album is an old face to the band, vocalist Kenny Leckremo who was the original vocalist from 2007-2010, the guy is phenomenal, and this album certainly shows what he is capable of!
Track 1 – Back to the Rhythm
Kicking off with an intro that straight away reminded me of “Over the Hills and Far Away”, we kick straight in, if this doesn’t have you pumping your fist then i don’t know, fantastic pre chorus and a great chorus, huge production, great melodic solo with little flashes, something swedish players really excel at! Great opener and hopefully sets the tone for what’s to come!
Track 2 – Nationwide
Rainbow and Dio vibes straight off on this one, Kill the King or Stand up and Shout, that’s just the first thing comes to me! Driving song, key change into the chorus which yet again and i have a feeling i will say this more, it will stick in your head! Another great solo, following the vocal melody before changing keys, Dave Dalone really rips on this one! Nice middle build up and then back to the chorus to lead us out!
Track 3 – Tainted Blood
This is a mid tempo plodding driver of a song, very much in the Europe/Whitesnake vein of things, nice bluesy feel to this one, which separates it from the first two tracks! First real showing of Kennys higher range in this one, great solo again, loved this track, so far, a standout for me, definitely a nice change of pace!
Track 4 – Hollywood
Chorus, this is a chorus, yeah i have said this a few times, but this will be in your head all day, solid track and yet again we have a ripping solo on this one, just a great AOR anthem, in terms of this genre it’s just a perfect song!
Track 5 – Harder to Breathe
Dokken, thats all i have to say, this is 100% a song that could have been on Under Lock and key, and that’s not a put down, this is a super strong track that has everything you want from a song like this, the way it breaks down to a near acoustic part before hitting that yet again super chorus. The solo is to be fair pure George Lynch with great keyboard interplay by Jona Tee, this is an absolute classic track in the making!
Track 6 – Not for Sale
They just keep coming, solid track after solid track, this is Kennys showcase so far, really soaring strong vocal, again the song itself has a more up-tempo feel but with attitude, the solo is melodic, flashy but never pretentious, always serving the song, i would mention the chorus again (yeah every song is a sing along)!!
Track 7 – One of Us
The first ballad on the album, we open straight with piano ballad territory with a nice string overlay before the band creep into it, this song really reminds me of something that could have been on Gutter Ballet era Savatage, no surprise but the chorus is fantastic! This song really complements the album as after 6 heavy tracks it really gives you a break while still keeping the flow Dave Dalone is really playing a blinder on this album, every solo is so well done, key change and into the last chorus giving a real lift to the song, great vocals at the end, outstanding track
Track 8 – Hold Your Fire
A little swing boogie feel on this track for the first time, massive pre chorus, reminds me a bit of Def Leppard if Dio was the vocalist, the per chorus is totally 80s Leppard, thats no bad thing, the production certainly holds up to that comment as well! Jimmy Jay gets a bit of a bass break on this one before Dave yet again rips into a solo,, double time at the end to build out the song!
Track 9 – Paramount
Ok so wasn’t expecting that, an almost circus feeling vibe intro before the band kick in, heres one for you, TNT Intuition, that intro reminds me of something that would sit on that album! This is more of a mid tempo rocker, it’s so far for me the weakest track, yes its melodic but its just not doing it for me at all, maybe a bit too sugar sweet on the chorus?
Track 10 – Demon Eyes
Tempo is kicked up for this one, definitely the most hard-edged track on the album, again it gives me a DIo/Yngwie vibe, and for me that’s no bad thing at all, loving the intensity, great chorus again, listen to the vocal melody right behind the vocals on the pre chorus, really subtle but really adds to the song, solo as expected is a ripper, for me this is the best track on the album!
Track 11 – Wings of an Aeroplane
Album finisher and we are closing with a slower tempo rocker, building in with a nice acoustic intro, then we have the band kicking in, massive massive chorus, this is another song that reminds me of the newer era Europe, everything about it from buildup to chorus to fantastic solo, it’s just another banger of a song!
I can’t apart from one song fault anything on this album, if you love you Europe, Winger, Slaughter, Eclipse, W.E.T style melodic rock, get it ordered, you will not be disappointed, i like many had heard the name but never listened to them, only really hearing about them after the Skid Row thing, after hearing this i am going
back to check out their other albums!!
A solid 9/10 from me!
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