Grand Design - Thrill Of The Night

GRAND DESIGN – Thrill Of The Night
AOR Heaven [Release date 29.09.14]

Grand Design are back with their 80’s influenced hard rock, or as I like to think Def Leppard with a helium infused vocalist! Vocalist Pelle Saether has a very high vocal range. This time one of melodic rock’s current hotshot songwriters Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse) co-wrote two songs, the very Def Leppard sounding ‘Who’s Gonna Rawk U Right’ and the mid-paced ‘You’re The Only One’.

One of the most insanely addictive songs on here is ‘Rip Iddup’ (shish their slang would give the 80’s issues of Kerrang! magazine a run for their money). Guitarists Dennis Vestman and Janne Stark have great fun trading riffs throughout the album.

This is a fun listen, pure indulgence for those hankering after that classic 80’s hard rock sound beloved of Def Leppard, Warrant and latter day bands like the Poodles. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

220 VOLT – Walking In Starlight
AOR Heaven [Release date 29.09.14]

Lots of 80’s bands have reformed in the past few years and now it’s 220 Volt’s turn. They had a decent level of success back in the 80’s, however this line-up does not feature original vocalist Jocke Lundholm. He has been replaced by Anders Engberg (ex-Lion’s Share/Therion), who joins founding members guitarists Thomas Drevin and Mats Karlsson, and drummer Peter Hermansson.

Their music is modern sounding, in that you’d be hard pushed to hear much of their 80’s influences. Songs like ‘Broken Promises’ sounds like modern Europe, no bad thing although 220 Volt don’t quite have the songwriting punch of Europe. A song like ‘Through The Wastelands’ they embrace melodic metal to good effect. ‘Burning Heart’ is one for the old airplay, loving the guitar riffs and chorus on this one.

Not a bad album, lacks a couple of real stand out tunes. Fans expecting an updated version of their 80’s sound will be disappointed, whereas if you like harder edged hard rock this is worth investigating further. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

JUDE GWYNAIRE Best Of www.judegwynaire.com

Apparently “Jude Gwynaire” is working on five albums scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.  Whether this is a case of spreading yourself too thinly or one hyper-productive musician remains to be seen.

Of course it could only happen in the Internet age and Jude has exploited the usual musician tools to reach a wider audience without reference to bigger label or PR promotion.

This is admirable and the ‘Best Of’ compilation is a good enough introduction to his work.  It sounds like he is a frustrated film theme composer as many of these pieces would work well in that environment, even if thirty years ago.

It is though essentially background music, with rich keyboard textures and exploring different themes and atmospheres.  So there’s a track called ‘FM Cops’ (LA mix, natch) and ‘Geisha Agent: Ginger Zen’.  Thirty years ago this would have been branded “new age” and in that sense it is slightly out of its time but no less interesting for that.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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