DA VINCI Ambition Rocks AOR Heaven [Release date 25.08.17]
It has been a mere 25 years since Da Vinci last released an album, the rather good ‘Back In Business’. The 2017 version of the band appears to only feature guitarist Gunnar Westlie and keyboards player Dag Selboskar (his playing really stands out on many songs) from that album/line-up. Vocalist Erling Ellingsen fits the band’s sound well, as they draw heavily on a keyboards led 80′s melodic rock sound that they excelled in back in the day.
The opening salvo of songs on the album are chock full of keys, catchy guitar riffs and melody, with ‘Vicious Circle’ and ‘I’ve Come All The Way’ taking you back to the glory days of 80′s Scandi melodic rock. However, the album does have some so-so songs as the album progresses that wash over the listener’s ears without much impact. The ballad ‘Angel’ would have been all over the radio back in the day, complete with a lovely piece of piano on the outro.
Da Vinci are back, not so much with a bang more a loud pop. Fans of the band will want to hear this, otherwise can’t see them winning over many new listeners in a very crowded marketplace. That said, do listen to the opening few songs as they are classy melodic rock. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
LEPROUS Malina Inside Out [Release date 25.08.17]
There has been a line-up change in Leprous since their last album with long-standing guitarist Øystein Landsverk leaving the band and his replacement is Robin Ognedal, who makes his recording debut with the band on this album.
For those not familiar with the music of Leprous, they like to delve into many musical genres and have a distinctive modern feel to their music, thanks to the keys/programming of Einar Solberg. He also has a distinctive, high pitched singing style that brings to mind bands like Muse or Radiohead.
The album’s lead song, ‘From The Flame’, has the band produce a very accessible song, yet on ‘Captive’ they show their musical chops off in style and weave intricate musical patterns, with the guitar and keys playing complimenting each other. Like fellow label mates Haken, Leprous excel in harmony vocals on songs, none more so than on ‘Leashes’, where cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne adds to the magical musical mix.
Challenging listening in parts, the melody is always king and you marvel at the vocals of Einar Solberg. Leprous go from strength to strength, with their musical ideas showing no signs of stopping, something that can halt a few bands once they have a few albums under their belts. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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