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02 Mar 2017 

LIONVILLE - II [Expanded Special Edition +2] (2017)

LIONVILLE - II [Expanded Special Edition +2] (2017) full

Capitalizing the recent, new LIONVILLE album, their previous record label are re-releasing the band's two first CD's in an Expanded Edition. This 2017 "Lionville II Special Edition" includes 2 must have collectors bonus tracks.

After their excellent debut, the mighty Italian AOR act returned with "Lionville II", another slice of high class AOR / Melodic Rock with a touch of Westcoast, featuring most of the top flight musicians performing on the debut also onboard, and their performances are top notch.
Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art) shows again that he is one of the most versatile and talented lead and backing vocalists of our time, also Stefano Lionetti delivers a very solid performance at the mic in addition to his melodic guitar playing and an occasional contribution on the keyboards.

Let just take one example of the album quality: “Higher”, one of the album’s many highlights, presents one of the year's best vocal arrangements and performances on a Rock song, seeing the two young European singers unite with one of the AOR and Westcoast genre’s American legends, the two-time Grammy award winning Bill Champlin (formerly of Chicago) with his signature vocals.
The trio trades off the lead vocals and Bill’s wife Tamara Champlin joins them on backing vocals.

The excellent band playing on all tracks was also the Lionville live band for the celebrated Firefest performance in October 2012. The line-up includes the Italian musicians Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Issa, Shining Line, Mitch Malloy), Anna Portalupi (Hardline, Mitch Malloy, Issa, Steve Lukather), Alessandro Mori (Mitch Malloy, Moonstone Project) as well as producer and keyboarder Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Issa, Mitch Malloy). 

On the album they are joined by guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago) on seven songs, as well as guest guitar players Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.), Sven Larsson (Street Talk) and Peter Friestedt (Williams Friestedt, L.A. Project).
The invitees are completed by drummer Herman Furin (Work Of Art) on percussions and Italian saxophone luminary Joe La Viola.

Stefano‘s songwriting partners are again Pierpaolo “Zorro” Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace), Robert Säll, Lars Säfsund and Alessandro Del Vecchio and a new co-operation was started with Miqael Persson (Eclipse, Toby Hitchcock, Giant).
The only song originating from outside writers is a cover version of Boy Meets Girl’s catchy '80s Pop-Rock gem “Waiting For A Star To Fall”, written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam. Lionville's version is really fun and catchy.

This Special Edition includes a quite different version of 'Another Day (AOR Remix)' brighter than the original, and a more pumping mix of 'Higher (AOR Remix)'

LIONVILLE “II” turns out to be a more mature and homogeneous sounding affair than the band’s debut, paying even more attention to the musical arrangements and production details resulting in a very well balanced mix.
This is a must for Melodic Rock / AOR fans. Period.


01. All We Need 
02. The Only Way Is Up
03. Another Day 
04. Higher 
05. No Turning Back 
06. All This Time 
07. Next To Me 
08. Waiting For A Star To Fall
09. Don't Walk Away 
10. One In A Million 
11. Shining Over Me
12. Open Your Heart
BONUS TRACKS:
13. Another Day (AOR Remix)
14. Higher (AOR Remix)

Stefano Lionetti: guitars, keyboards, vocals
Lars Säfsund: Lead & backing vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio: Keyboards, backing vocals
Bruce Gaitsch: Electric and acoustic guitars
Mario Percudani: Electric guitars
Anna Portalupi: Bass
Alessandro Mori: Drums & percussion
Very Special Guests:
Bill Champlin: Lead & backing vocals on “Higher”
Tamara Champlin: Backing vocals on “Higher”
Robert Säll: Guitars & keyboards on “All This Time”
Sven Larsson: Guitars on “One In A Million”
Peter Friestedt: Guitars on “Another Day”
Joe La Viola: Saxophone on “Waiting For A Star To Fall”
Herman Furin: Percussions on “Open Your Heart”
.
Admin · 68 views · 0 comments
02 Mar 2017 

LIONVILLE - Lionville [Expanded Special Edition +3] (2017)

LIONVILLE - Lionville [Expanded Special Edition +3] (2017) full

Capitalizing the recent, new LIONVILLE album, their previous record label are re-releasing the band's two first CD's in an Expanded Edition. "Lionville", the group's first self-titled release, in this 2017 "Lionville Special Edition" includes 3 must have bonus tracks.

Founded by guitarist Stefano Lionetti, LIONVILLE was created to bring back the pure AOR from the '80s to the new generation. With the help of such prominent musicians as Pierpaolo "Zorro" Monti (Shining Line) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of forever, Eden's Curse) onboard, they went in the search of a lead vocalist to fit the band's style.
The inclusion of one of the best new singers in the scene - Lars Säflund of Work Of Art - was the best choice they could have done.

Some of the other notables guests are Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago, Peter Cetera), Tommy Denander, Eric Martensson (W.E.T., Eclipse), Sven Larsson (Street Talk), Arabella Vitanc (Alyson Avenue) and more. 
The tunes on Lionsville's self-titled debut are all lead unwavering with a bouncing oomph featuring great vocals and lead guitars from all the special guests. 

Where to start... if you’re a Melodic rock / AOR fan you will have much to enjoy on this fantastic, very well done record.
Opener "Here By My Side" is a melodic rock dream from star to finish, featuring a radio-ready friendly hook and killer harmonies."With You" is a terrific melodic mid-tempo with some Bad English-like keyboards but definitely European, while "Center Of The Universe" is a lovely AOR throwback to the '80s TOTO with some nice guitar leads.

And now comes one of the gems (in fact all are bright gems!); "Thunder In Your Heart", a cover of the marvelous AOR song performed by John Farnham for the Eighties movie RAD. Lionville's version is harder, guitar fueled but extremely melodic. A track to die for.
Another homage or tribute to the classic '80s AOR sound comes on the Richard Marx ballad "World Without Your Love". Superb vocals and arrangements here. 

"Power Of My Dreams" rocks again, with a more predominant presence of keys and a passionate vocal performance. "Chosen Ones" is just a brilliant intricate duet between Lars and new Alyson Avenue's Arabella Vitanc vocalist, a fast and upbeat modern melodic rocker with all the magic of Tommy Denander through it. Awesome.
"Dreamhunter" is more relaxed, very Swedish, reminding you Thomas Vikström / Talk Of The Town stuff.

The bonuses o this 2017 Special Edition are true collectibles: 'No End in Sight (AOR Remix)' resulting more midtempo and radio friendly, 'World Without Your Love (Modern AOR Remix)' adds subtle synths to the background, while 'Say Goodbye (Acoustic Remix)' is pretty different in this stripped version.

"Lionville" is remarkable debut, essential for all fans of classy Melodic Rock / AOR with that special '80s touch. All songs are fully equipped with the essential attributes for this type of music; melody, hooks galore, terrific harmonies and great musicianship / production.
Lionetti wrote most of the material but also received help from master Tommy Denander and Robert Sall from Work Of Art. Lars Säfsund shines on vocals and all the super guests give this recording a top notch plus.
A Must Have


01 - Here by My Side
02 - With You
03 - Centre of My Universe
04 - Thunder in My Heart
05 - World Without Your Love
06 - Power of My Dreams
07 - No End in Sight
08 - The Chosen Ones
09 - Over and over Again
10 - Dreamhunter
11 - Say Goodbye
BONUS TRACKS:
12 - No End in Sight (AOR Remix)
13 - World Without Your Love (Modern AOR Remix)
14 - Say Goodbye (Acoustic Remix)

Lars Säfsund - Lead Vocals
Stefano Lionetti - Lead & backing Vocals, Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Pierpaolo "Zorro11" Monti - Drums
guests:
Bruce Gaitsch
Tommy Denander
Eric Martensson (W.E.T., Eclipse)
Sven Larsson (Street Talk)
Arabella Vitanc (Alyson Avenue)
Mario Percudani
Andrea Maddalone
Anna Portalupi
Amos Monti .
Admin · 64 views · 0 comments
01 Mar 2017 

COASTLAND RIDE - On Top Of The World [retail]

COASTLAND RIDE - On Top Of The World [retail] full

With the recent new COASTLAND RIDE album, one of you asked for their previous which has become pretty hard to find in good quality or physical CD copy. "On Top Of The World" is Coastland Ride's second effort, as always with this band's recordings, immaculately arranged to detail with a pristine production.

Whether it's by purpose or chance, Coastland Ride's name gives you a hint to their musical style. These three Swedes deliver stylized AOR / Melodic Rock with an elegant West Coast touch in the classy L.A. tradition. 
Coastland Ride was formed in 1997 by three friends and musicians, Markus Nordenberg (lv,bv), Anders Rybank (k,g,b), and Mikael Bohlin (k,g), wanting to record and publish the tunes they've accumulated over the years. 
The first result was their eponymous debut in 2003, recently reissued in a remastered form plus 3 bonus tracks, also featured on this blog (follow 'Labels' below).

It took some time for Coastland Ride to get this "On Top Of The World" ready, and that's mostly because Nordenberg & Co. are true perfectionists. Expect classic AOR / West Coast in the Scandinavian style here: breezy, easy melodies, lush vocal arrangements in harmony, catchy hooks and choruses, and some elaborated guitar work. 
That last characteristic truly brightens, even over shadows, this album. Guitar solos were provided by Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Lionville) and Leif Eriksson (Winterlong), and all are truly excellent.

Ultimately, Coastland Ride lets the music do the talking. 
The easy, feel good vibe of West Coast AOR comes through on "Wait", title track "On Top Of The World", "Strange Confusion" (lovely keyboards), and the quirky, sometimes funky, "Jericho Falls". For inspiration, a sax rises in the euro AOR of "Second Chance", a very nice touch. 
Coastland Ride balance the album with more rocking tunes such as "Made Up My Mind" and the finale "Nail Me To The Cross", whilst opener "Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons)" and the semi-ballad "Sandra" are Melodic Rock oriented.

Coastland Ride is one of the finest acts out there cleverly mixing light Melodious Rock high on harmony, melody and accessible friendliness with a classy AOR / West Coast sound revisiting the '80s.
Few do it better than the Scandinavians, and Coastland Ride are one of these.
HIGHLY Recommended


01 - Act Of Faith (One Million Reasons) 
02 - Wait
03 - On Top Of The World
04 - Second Chance
05 - Made Up My Mind
06 - Sandra
07 - Save You From Yourself
08 - Lodestar
09 - Strange Confusion
10 - Jericho Falls
11 - Nail Me To The Cross

Markus Nordenberg - Lead & background vocals, add. keyboards 
Anders Rybank - Guitars, keyboards, bass & programming 
Mikael Bohlin - Guitars, keyboards & programming  
guest musicians: 
Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Lionville) - Guitar solos on 1, 2, 5, 7, 11
Leif Eriksson (Winterlong) - Guitar solos on 3, 8, 10
Morgan Östlin - sax solo on 4
Patrik Norman - guitars, bass, keyboards, drums on 7, 8
Mikael Cederholm, Benka Jansson - Backing vocals on 5
Maria Ritzen - female vocals on 10
Mark Woznicki - the voice on 10
.
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08 Feb 2017 

SANTA ANA WINDS (David A. Saylor) - Santa Ana Winds (2017)


SANTA ANA WINDS (David A. Saylor) - Santa Ana Winds (2017) full


SANTA ANA WINDS is the self-titled debut from a project created by AOR Blvd Records. Conducted by the great David A. Saylor (in his last recording before his recent death) and long time collaborator keyboardist John Dewsbury, "Santa Ana Winds" features three lead vocalists; David Saylor himself, Brad Henshaw (Road Kings) and newbie Rebecca Owen. Of course, this is pure AOR in the best '80s tradition.

 

The idea was to carefully select & record obscure AOR songs from the past - some of them never officially released and only known as demos - with a new feeling and arrangements. Saylor's vocals did not need introduction to AOR fans, but I have to mention Brad Henshaw as a true revelation as AOR singer, plus Rebecca Own provides the sweet female touch, while Saylor's daughter Romany does some backing vocals.

 

Let start with Brad Henshaw's songs: 'Don't Stand In My Way' (originally done buy Charlie) and since its opening keyboards you fall in love. Great guitar work by Saylor and a true AOR melody for the heart. Bill Quateman's 'Love Is A Mystery' is another highlight with keyboard lines that melt into your skin. Brad's voice is full of mysticism and suggestive phrasing. Awesome. The last Henshaw vocal contribution is heard in 'You', and obscure LaMarca song. This is another perfect demonstration of Brad's talents, and this 1985 song still delivers magic in 2017

 

Now let's go with Saylor's lead vocal tracks: 'Blinded' is perhaps the best known cut here, the Stan Bush song. Saylor makes it his own with this killer performance. Play it to your friends to show them what AOR is all about. 'Clocks' is an obscure, unknown track once recorded by Sad Cafe. An almost spiritual ballad, this is a journey in time where the clock stops and you keep still enjoying the moment.The last David Saylor performance is on closer 'If We Call It Love', an original Fake ID demo. I love this song, and I love the way Saylor has crafted the main melody. 

 

Then we have the delicate and feminine part on the record, the songs performed by the unknown Rebecca Owen. And what a find she is. "In Time" is a delicious midtempo where her vocals are the sweetest thing, and then she does again a great interpretation of Outside Edge's song 'Teardrop', this time with more muscle and passion.


SANTA ANA WINDS (David A. Saylor) - Santa Ana Winds (2017) back


"Santa Ana Winds" is a terrific AOR bringing back those glory years from the '80s. Albums of this quality standard do not get made very easily in 2017. What is on offer here is a classic AOR sound which captures the genre perfectly. It is produced with a very limited budget however and it shows, but do not let that put you off this album as the quality of the songs and the performances shine through.

 

Rebecca Owen is a really great find and Henshaw sings like a giant, great voice. Is there anything that David Saylor can't sing? I've sang his praises a few times on here and he never fails to deliver top quality AOR, and Santa Ana Winds is no exception.

A Must.

 

01 - Don't Stand In My Way

02 - Blinded

03 - In Time

04 - Love Is A Mystery

05 - Clocks

06 - Teardrop

07 - You

08 - If We Call It Love


David Saylor: lead & backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums

John Dewsbury: keyboards, programming

Brad Henshaw: lead vocals (1, 4, 7)

Rebecca Own: lead vocals (3, 6)

Romany Saylor: backing vocals


.


Admin · 62 views · 0 comments
04 Nov 2015 

DAVID A SAYLOR - Built 2 Fight (2015)

DAVID A SAYLOR - Built 2 Fight (2015) full 

Wild Rose and Push UK vocalist DAVID A SAYLOR has been delighting us with a bunch of lovely pure AOR albums in the last four of five years, now returns with a another smooth record entitled "Built 2 Fight" again with notable contributors as guests such as guitarists David Mark Pearce, Brett Hammond and Nik Lloyd providing great guitar solos to enhance these wonderful, sweet AOR tunes.

Do you remember the days when an artist or band released a new album within a timeframe of some 12 to 18 months after their latest offering? Nowadays it's a different story. Some even wait 5 to 10 years before treating their fans to new music but fortunately there are exceptions like mister David A. Saylor. 
It's true that David has a gap of some 2 decades between his first solo record "One On One" (that featured a mix of songs sung in Spanish and English) and 2012's "City Of Angels" but he has come up with a new platter in each of the following years.

With putting out albums in such quick succesion also comes the danger that the quality of the songs suffers but that is definitely not the case here. 
Sure things sound familiar (think Pride Of Lions, Strangeways, FM, Drive She Said, Michael Thompson Band) on more than one occasion but that makes each of the tracks so instantly likable to every classic AOR fan. 

Main ingredients remain David's warm, slightly raspy and emotional vocals and whole range of superb harmonies and melodies. Add to that the musical talent of those involved and you have once more a release that will please you from the first bars. 

Saylor play almost all instruments with the exception of guitar solos - you need skilled axe-mans for this and all three involved are great - some special keyboards, and guest backing vocals to enhance the rich harmonies.
All tracks, as said, are pure AOR goodies, just to mention few; the glorious and highly intoxicating "Alibi" on which David is joined by fellow melodic rock/west coast artist Indigo Balboa, and the slow burning "The Time Is Now", two tracks which paint you the perfect musical picture of what to expect on "Built 2 Fight".
AOR fans, rejoice.


01 - Built To Fight
02 - The Time Is Now
03 - Way Down The Line
04 - The Girl From Tokyo
05 - No Fear
06 - This Is It
07 - Alibi
08 - La Chica De Tokyo
09 - Follow Me

David A. Saylor: lead vocals, All Instruments
David Mark Pearce: guitar solos (3,6,7)
Brett Hammond: guitar solos (4,8)
Nik Lloyd: guitar solos (1,2,5)
Paul Pryor: bass
Rob Hewns: drums
Jon Dewsbury: additional keyboards
Indigo Balboa: additional vocals (7)
Romany May, Erika Jones, Azahar Lopez: backing vocals
.
Admin · 273 views · 0 comments
21 Apr 2015 

RADIOACTIVE - F4UR [Japanese Edition] (2015)

RADIOACTIVE - F4UR [Japanese Edition] (2015) full

As the title suggests, "F4UR" this is indeed album number 4 from RADIOACTIVE, the brainchild of super talented Swedish guitarist/songwriter Tommy Denander and on each album to date he has had a series of top Melodic Rock and AOR vocalists, and on this album he has the best yet!

"F4UR" is the first Radioactive album in nearly 10 years and has been recorded at different stages of the past decade.
Sadly two of the vocalists on here are no longer with us. Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison is on top form (although to be fair he never gave anything less than 100% when singing?) on opener "Summer Rains", a perfect melodic tune with a Survivor-like musical backing. Love the acapella start that leads nicely into the keyboards. 
Former Toto / Le Roux vocalist Fergie Frederiksen is on the catchy "Back To The Game", and unsurprisingly sounds like it came of the Frederiksen / Denander album of a few years ago. Another top tune.

Great to hear Jeff Paris again and he gets two songs, "Start All Over" is one of the best songs on the album, a classy Melodic Rock song and a familiar lyric of lost love and starting again. 
Jean Beauvoir (Crown Of Thorns) is on the album’s curveball, "You’ll Find The Fire" that mixes his distinctive vocals to a electro/synth beat. Sounds strange but it works, adding variation.
The always solid James Christian sings up a storm on "Give Me Your Love", the heaviest song on here, whilst his other half, Robin Beck, not to be outdone shines on "When Silence Gets To Loud". Get this tune on radio and you’d have a hit, one of those pop/melodic rock crossovers that builds from a gentle start to a big, memorable chorus.

Long time musical collaborator Bobby Kimball (ex-Toto) appears on "Heart Come Alive", which sounds like a Toto song in style (Denander is a big fan) and the keyboard arrangements in particular. 
The real surprise vocalist on here is former Kansas Steve Walsh. He sings on "The Piper" and is another album highlight. Shades of Mike Slamer in the guitar and reminded me of Steelhouse Lane.

RADIOACTIVE - F4UR [Japanese Edition] (2015) cd photo

Often these musical projects can sound disjointed or there are only a few decent singers involved, not in this case with Radioactive, as each vocalist is superb and still have their vocal power in spades. 
Tommy Denander of course adds in some classy guitar solos when required, the guitarist is quite happy to share the limelight with the singer on here. 
Not a duff song in sight, F4UR is a real treat for Melodic Rock / AOR fans.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Rubicon Japan ~ DAKRBNCD-1186

01. Summer Rains (vocals – Jami Jamison) 
02. Back To The Game (vocals – Fergie Frederiksen)
03. Beautiful Lies (vocals – Jeff Paris)
04. The Piper (vocals – Steve Walsh)
05. Alibis (vocals – David Roberts)
06. When The Silence Gets Too Loud (vocals – Robin Beck)
07. You’ll Find The Fire (vocals – Jean Beauvoir)
08. Heart Come Alive (vocals – Bobby Kimball)
09. Start All Over (vocals – Jeff Paris)
10. If Only My Memory Could Lie (vocals – Dan Reed)
11. Just A Man (vocals – Fergie Frederiksen)
12. Give Me Your Loving (vocals – James Christian)
13. Memoriam (Instrumental in memory of Bruno Denander, Fergie Frederiksen, Jimi Jamison, Gary Moore & Chris Greer)
14. Natural Born Dreamer (vocals – Jeff Paris) [Japanese bonus track]

Tommy Denander – guitars, bass & keyboards
Lars Chris – drums
Ken Sandin – bass on 6
Jimi Jamison, Jeff Paris, Robin Beck, Jean Beauvoir, James Christian, Chris Ousey, Kevin Chalfant, Simon Peyron, Tommy Denander, David Palau – backing vocals
.
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21 Apr 2015 

PETERIK / SCHERER - Risk Everything (2015)

PETERIK / SCHERER - Risk Everything (2015) full

Jim Peterik, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and the man behind Survivor success, without a doubt has an ear for great vocalists. He 'discovered' Marc Scherer, a master jeweler by profession, when he was recording vocals for his group in Peterik's studio three years ago. 
Since then, Peterik has wanted to craft songs and an album to showcase Scherer's superb vocals, and the result is "Risk Everything", a CD released by Frontiers Records under the names of both artists PETERIK / SCHERER.

And indeed, Scherer owns a powerful and melodic voice, a full five octave range. He can belt it out or bring it down to a whisper. And his voice is in the proper context. 
Of course, Peterik has crafted classy AOR / Melodic Rock songs: lots of melody, harmony and groove with catchy refrains and vibrant guitar solos. Considering his nearly inexhaustible experience, sounds from Survivor to Toto to Journey, among others, come to mind. 
Properly, not only do his commanding presence, the production keeps Scherer in front of the music; it's there to support and carry him along. And it sounds pretty fandamntastic too.

From the first crystal clean guitar tones in opener title track “Risk Everything” to the autobiographical undertones of brilliant storytelling and ultra-melodic grandeur of “Independence Day”, this album is everything fans of the genre could have asked for. 
The music fittingly illustrates the stories told in Marc Scherer’s clean-cut voice, all embroidered with flawless vocal harmonies. But what perhaps what strikes here the most is the fact Jim Peterik still hasn’t run out of ideas for composing tunes that are catchy but tasteful, and simply captivating.

Plenty of tracks on the album are kept at a mid-tempo groove, ‘80s infused keyboard sound upfront and juxtaposed with rich lead guitar work like in “Chance Of A Lifetime”, “The Dying Of The Light”, “Cold Blooded” or the rocking “Brand New Heart”. 

You have a few songs that blur the line between anthem and ballad as on “Desperate In Love”, its first part ballad-esque only to morph smoothly into an AOR Melodic mid-tempo further on. Also “The Crescendo” has this feeling, bringing to mind '80s Styx.
There’s also a true ballad, the charming, heart-tugging “How Long Is A Moment” with all that classic melodies we love.
Then, albeit somewhat tempered by tinkly keyboards, the distinct, thumping rhythm of “Milestones” reminds you classic Survivor with a 'fresh' vocalist.
One brilliant song after another, there’s hardly a highlight to be picked among the eleven songs on Risk Everything – each of them equally great.

"Risk Everything" is yet another jewel in Jim Peterik’s crown – an musician and songwriter that doesn’t need more recognition or acclaim, but the one who still can surprise a listener with quite a few melodic aces up his sleeve. And simultaneously, an album that put the relatively little known Marc Scherer in the same league as the mentioned singers Peterik’s previously collaborated with – Toby Hitchcock, Dave Bickler and the late, great Jimi Jamison. 

Apart from perfectly crafted melodies, it’s Scherer’s range and clear vocal tone the biggest assets to the eleven songs on the record. Peterik is there to add harmony vocals and his share of strong guitar work / sparkling keyboard lines.
Yes, the combo PETERIK / SCHERER works like a charm, and let’s only hope – on behalf of all Melodic Rock aficionados out there – that "Risk Everything" it’s only the first of many albums released under their collaborative moniker.
AWESOME.


01. Risk Everything
02. Chance Of A Lifetime
03. Cold Blooded
04. Desperate In Love
05. Thee Crescendo
06. The Dying of The Light
07. How Long Is A Moment
08. Brand New Heart
09. Broken Home
10. Milestones
11. Your Independence Day

Marc Scherer – lead vocals
Jim Peterik – guitars, keyboards, vocals
Ed Breckenfeld (Pride of Lions, Jimi Jamison) – drums
Nick Rich – drums
Klem Hayes (Pride of Lions) – bass
Bob Lizik (Dennis DeYoung, Pride of Lions) – bass
Bill Syniar (Survivor, Kelly Keagy) – bass
Mike Aquino (Mecca, Pride of Lions) – add. guitars
.
Admin · 492 views · 0 comments
21 Apr 2015 

FM - Heroes And Villains (2015)

FM - Heroes And Villains (2015) full

Perhaps the most important British Melodic Rock / AOR act of all time, FM may have spent last autumn on a 30th anniversary tour, but they are neither a nostalgia band nor one to let the grass grow under their feet. Two years after a pair of new albums in Rockville I and II, and ahead of yet another tour, they are back with another record of new material entitled "Heroes And Villains".

Simply put, "Heroes And Villains" is probably the most overtly commercial of the albums they have recorded since reforming, possibly even since the outstanding 1989’s ‘Tough It Out’.
Opener "Digging Up The Dirt" has a shuffling groove to it driven by a great big guitar riff underpinning the track courtesy of Jim Kirkpatrick whose guitar work on everything from Metropolis to date has been phenomenal.
Steve Overland’s vocals need no comment other than to say that the smoothest set of pipes in melodic rock sound as strong as ever allowing the listener to settle into the mood of the album within the first 30 seconds. 
All the trademark FM styles are there. Merv Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp make everything sound big, while Jem Davis’ keyboard sound is fresh and modern.


The ultra-catchy follower "You’re The Best Thing About Me" can be compared with Def Leppard-Hysteria era, although Steve Overland’s ever superb lead vocals are vastly superior. Later, the lush ballad "Incredible" is another showcase for the warmth and emotion the frontman brings to his singing.
"Life Is A Highway" sneaks a little bit of American Girls from FM's brilliant debut into the mix just to keep the long term fans happy. "Fire And Rain" brings in a classic melodic rock groove with some 'whoah oahs' thrown in for good measure at the beginning of the track.

Commerciality should not be equated with fluffy keyboards though as the guitar of Jim Kirkpatrick is pushed well forward in the mix and his concise solos suit the music perfectly.
Much of the album has the feel, if not the budget,  of a Mutt Lange-produced album and indeed "Shape I’m In" could be a missing outtake from Bryan Adams’ ‘Waking Up The Neighbours’.
"Cold Hearted" is virtually the only representative of the more melodic bluesy sound of early Nineties FM, adding a touch of grit to the highly polished fare elsewhere like the bright and breezy "Call On Me".
"Big Brother" offers something different both lyrically and with its slower pace and haunting keyboards at the beginning and end, and "Sometimes I Only Wanna Rock n Roll" has the raunchy Seventies feel of Brishish scene.

Now of course, no FM album is complete without the ballads. There are tracks littered throughout FM’s history that other bigger AOR acts would have loved to have written and the aforementioned "Incredible" ticks all of the boxes that denotes a future fan favourite as well.
They save the best for last though and the album plays out with "Walking With Angels", opening with soft acoustic guitar playing, beautiful harmonising from the band and Steve doing, well, simply what Steve does best. This song deserves to be huge and may be one of the best tracks the band have ever written.

FM - Heroes And Villains (2015) inside

Well it's 2015 and here we are gearing up for a new FM album, and sometimes you just gotta love the music world, because during their initial period of rocking all over the world and after the wilderness years of 1996 - 2007, it is amazing that the band continue to release great music.
"Heroes And Villains" cements their reputation as the UK’s foremost exponents of Melodic Rock, and delivers, as usual, very polished & slick quality stuff.
Highly Recommended.


01. Digging Up The Dirt
02. You’re The Best Thing About Me
03. Life Is A Highway
04. Fire And Rain
05. Incredible
06. Call On Me
07. Cold Hearted
08. Shape I’m In
09. Big Brother
10. Somedays I Only Wanna Rock And Roll
11. I Want You
12. Walking With Angels

Steve Overland – Vocals, Guitar
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitars
Jem Davis – Keyboards
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass
Pete Jupp – Drums
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