Review by Rob Broom for MPM
Surrender to the power of the beast, with no fat to be seen, this beast is lean and mean!
Yes, that is an over-the-top start to a review, but this is a tremendous modern metal rock album and deserves it.
Joe Lynn Turner will be known to many as the singer in Rainbow, delivering the vocals on the massive hit ‘I Surrender’ and albums ‘Bent out of Shape’, ‘Difficult to Cure’ and ‘Straight Between the Eyes’. If, like me, this pretty much is the depth of your knowledge then pin back your ears, as the man has been very busy between then and now!
Aside from working with some other bands (such as Deep Purple) and collaborations, he has released several solo albums.
This is his latest solo release and from the first notes of opening title track ‘Belly of the Beast’ you get grabbed by the scruff of the neck and given a good shake – the track is relentless and without mercy, drums and rhythm pounding along while the guitars run up and down the fret board to wake you up then the riffing starts in earnest. All the while JLT himself delivers a fine vocal performance, never screaming or growling but keeping a near perfect pitch to fit the tempo of the song.
Second track ‘Black Sun’ starts with a brief almost Rammstein style introduction, but then veers off into more ferocious rocking with that smooth Joe Lynn vocal delivery. The man is making the vocals seem effortless and then slows the song down so we can take a moment before the song finishes off with a furious combination of guitar, drums, bass and keyboards again reminding me briefly of Rammstein.
‘Tortured Soul’ again uses that keyboard ‘symphony’ to open up proceedings, and is not quite as brutal as the previous two tracks. There a slower pace with peaks and troughs. It gives us a chance to breath, but take the opportunity quickly as this one has a catchy chorus you will want to start to sing a long to and with a few Iron Maidenesque ‘ Whoa whoas’ thrown in for good measure, resistance at this point is quite frankly futile!
Gentle piano introduces ‘Rise Up’ and then we are off to the races with the up tempo beat. This is a terrific pumping tune with a fantastic chorus. Live this should be a full on fists in the air crowd pleaser.
After the slow moving epic delivery of ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ the pace picks up again with ‘Tears of Blood’ which beats along with a groove that could get a crowd jumping and a tune that can easily stick in the memory.
There is some quality riffing and guitar work on display here, a theme consistent throughout the album. Then we arrive at ‘Desire’. Atmospheric guitar with some background sirens and spoken word builds the song before we get going with a dark pounding and brooding tune.
‘Don’t Fear the Dark’ reminds me of Dio, and in a very good way. But Joe Lynn Turner is very much his own man, so don’t let the comparisons fool you. The song positively pumps along. With ‘Fallen World’ JLT tells us all that is wrong with the world, and has some swirling keyboard and guitar to support it over an almost spoken word/rap delivery in places.
‘Living the Dream’ asks us if we are ‘living the dream’ and is a good commercially based piece of rock. It is well worth a listen and grooves along nicely. It is a reminder of those Rainbow days but with right up to date song lyrics.
The album finishes with ‘Requiem’, another slow moving piece where JLT once again shows us he can really sing. The entire album really highlights JLTs vocal range and the musicians support the vocals with some powerful polished performances, lets hear and see this on the road please!
In putting this album together Joe Lynn Turner may well have been influenced by recent world events over the last couple of years.
A number of the songs are apocalyptic in lyrical content and equally apocalyptic in musical delivery! He has taken a look into the pit of despair and written about the breakdown in society that the worse in humanity can show us.
Thankfully for us Joe Lynn Turner has also found the good and climbed back out of the pit delivering an album which brims with quality and majesty rather than a smell of Sulphur. Buy it now from your preferred outlet.
- Belly of the Beast
- Black Sun
- Tortured Soul
- Rise Up
- Dark Night of the Soul
- Tears of Blood
- Don’t Fear the Dark
- Fallen World
- Living the Dream
Picture (C) Agata Nigrovskaya