SPV [Release date 23.02.18]
Vocalist and guitarist Chris Bay is best known as the founder and frontman of German power metal band Freedom Call (formed Nuremberg, 1998), whose sound has centred around catchy guitar melodies and big vocal harmonies. Inheriting his vocal ability from his opera singer grandfather, Bay has kept their roots to the forefront even when the band dipped into gothic metal or thrash.
Here Bay records his first solo album, and it’s a far cry from the dub reggae our Reviews Editor suggested it might be. On the opening track ‘Flying Hearts’, the guitar harmonies may be gone (think light straight metal) but the big vocals are still there, and it’s worth buying for that alone. Some good keyboards in there.
‘Light My Fire’ is more bouncy (Freedom Call dipped into that) but this is slightly more pop metal, very radio friendly. Yes it’s different and it’s definitely not power metal, it is as enjoyable as it gets. It’s actually all the more enjoyable too for the fact he’s moved away from Freedom Call so an extent. There’s a darker edge to ‘Move On,’ but no matter how dark it has that parp that keeps things light and fresh.
‘Radio Starlight’ moves back to the more commercial side of Freedom Call, and there’s a sensitive side in ‘Silent Cry’. ‘Hollywood Dancer’ has a touch of a that “sung down a telephone line” effect to the intro, then it moves to a great upbeat bouncy rock number. No big vocal harmonies but still classic Bay.
The intro to ‘Where Waters Flow’ is a little haunting, a darker track. There’s a dark effect filled edge to ‘Bad Boyz’, imagine 80′s glam metal gone 90′s nu direction. I really love this track and the solo works well, the bounce hints at a boogie.
It’s definitely off piste enough to have hardcore power fans wondering and wandering, it is more big rock meets power pop in places, but how many solo albums are made pointless by sounding just like the original band? Too many. Not this one. It may be lighter, but the quality is there and it’s a great listen. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.
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