Frontiers [Release Date 08.07.16]
Q5’s ‘Steel The Light’ was one of the cult classic metal albums of the eighties, blending an uncompromising approach with class vocals and massive hooks in distinctive fashion, lifting it above the myriad of average releases from their American counterparts. Though it followed the then prevailing commercial mid-80’s wind the follow up ‘When The Mirror Cracks’ was also a mighty fine album.
So it is fair to say that when this album appeared on Frontiers forward releases roster there was more anticipation than for most other reunion projects. While guitarist Floyd Rose (he of the tremolo famous to guitarists everywhere) is not part of it his twin Rick Pierce is still there, now accompanied by Kendall Bechtel.
However a truly cringeworthy promotional video set some alarm bells running, and sure enough ‘We Came Here To Rock’ is a quite dreadful choice of opener, like the worst type of mid-eighties Saxon song, stuffed with clichés and singer Jonathan K sounding tired as he cackles his way through.
‘One Night In Hellas’- a clever pun as they relaunched the band with a concert in Greece- trots along on a rapid riff enjoyably enough but ‘The Right Way’ again is way below what they should be capable of, with its second rate AC/DC riffing and innuendos.
However the title track sounds more like the old Q5 with some Queensryche influences mixed in, and, though the likes of ‘Tear Up The Night’ and ‘Fear Is The Killer’ are average and unoriginal, to be fair the album improves as it goes on.
The slow grinding ‘Prisoner Of Mind’ and ‘Land Of The Setting Sun’ are more adventurous and ‘Unrequited (A Woman Of Steel)’ has more of the feel of classic Q5, while ‘Just One Kiss’ with its harmony guitars is probably the most immediate of the songs on view. Even then they fall marginally short of past glories.
Jonathan is more impressive when he sings rather than rasping wheezily in sub-Johnson and Dirkschneider fashion, but unfortunately returns to this style on ‘Get Next To You’ which ends the album on a low note.
While this would be a decent enough effort say from a reformed NWOBHM band that never made it, for a band of Q5’s pedigree average is not enough and this has to count as one of the letdowns of the year. ***
Review by Andy Nathan
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).
Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 STEVE HARLEY Uncovered (indie)
Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREEK Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)
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