Frontiers (Release date 24.01.20)
Frontiers Records’ AOR superhero assembly is working like a dream. The Revolution Saints – Deen (Journey) Castronovo, Jack (Night Ranger) Blades and Doug (Whitesnake) Aldrich – are on their third album now, so that confirms it.
Almost by definition then, there’s no breaking of new ground here, no envelope stretching, no innovation. Just three consummate artists, whose ambitions at the height of their fame far outstripped the genre’s conventions, doing what they do best.
Every track, without fail, confirms itself to be a fresh spin on well explored melodic rock concepts. Much credit needs to go to producer and co-writer, Alessandro Delvecchio who keeps a firm hand on the studio tiller.
Irresistibly feelgood openers, ‘When The Heartache Has Gone’ and ‘Price We Pay’ wear their influences well. The first borrows heavily from Journey’s ‘Be Good To Yourself’, yet it still feels crisp and new.
Aldrich’s soloing outshines Schon’s, and Castronovo’s vocals dive deep. (Steve Perry’s recent solo album sounds tired and uninspired next to this track. Irony upon ironies. Maybe Perugino should persuade Perry to team up with DelVecchio). The second repeats the trick, adding a piano motif and a melancholy undertow, without overdoing the sentimental bit.
The balladic ‘Coming Home’ is a chest beating, stadium rousing anthem, it’s full throated stuff, with guitars and piano that race to crescendo. Out and out ballad, ‘Closer’ goes a step further. The vocal is beautifully delivered by Blades, it burns with melodic rock intensity, peaking with an all guns blazing, rafter raising chorus, on a “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” basis.
‘Talk To Me’ is singularly assured piece of work, elegantly formed, and carefully and colourfully textured, in a slightly more contemporary rock fashion.
‘Higher’ and ‘Eyes Of A Child’ are triumphs of passion over pastiche. You may feel by now that you’ve mainlined into MTV or FM Radio, circa 1985, especially when you hear Aldrich lighting them up with radiant bursts of guitar. The warmth, and the whiffs of nostalgia are impossible to avoid.
If all the songs have a distinctly familiar air then, it’s no accident. But just because you’re joining the dots, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a beautiful picture. ****
Review by Brian McGowan
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 2 August 2020.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
Featured Albums w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LIONVILLE Magic Is Alive (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 MAD MAX Stormchild Rising (SPV)
14:00-16:00 MARY COUGHLAN Life Stories (2020)
Power Plays w/c 3 August (Mon-Fri)
SOUTH OF SALEM Cold Day In Hell (indie)
BLACK LESION Sins (indie)
CAROLINE JONES All Of The Boys (Social Family Records)
BLACK SUN Resist (Rockshot Records)
THE JAILBIRDS Dull My Brain (Golden Robot Records)
FROM ASHES TO NEW Scars That I’m Hiding (Better Noise Records)
THE GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS Spirit Of A Workin’ Man (Mascot)
THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA Apologise (TBOG Music)
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!