Feature: Albums that time forgot – ELEKTRADRIVE – Living 4


Valery Records (2009)

Elektradrive is one of the more significant Hard Rock/AOR bands to emerge from Italy. At the very start, in 1983, the name of the band was Overdrive and they had a four-piece line up without keyboards; after one year they added the keyboards and became Elektradrive.

Elektradrive’s debut single ‘Let it Survive’ was released on 1984 by Smoko Records. Elektradrive were featured, in the same year on the compilation ‘HM Eruption’ with the song ‘Lord of the Rings’, and in the compilation ‘Metallo Italia’ with ‘Winner’ the year after. In 1985 the band produced a videoclip for ‘Winner’.

Elektradrive’s debut full length album, Over The Space was released in 1986 via Discotto Records followed by a three months national tour.  (A 30th anniversary edition was released in 2016 with bonus tracks).

The most well known – and widely appreciated – album by Elektradrive, Due, was released in 1989 via Minotauro. Due received excellent feedback from the international press, including 5K’s on Kerrang Magazine from Dave Reynolds (at the same time, Whitesnake’s Slip Of The Tongue received 3K’s)!  In the same year Elektradrive played with Manowar at Palasport Torino.  An intensive international tour followed.  A 24th anniversary edition was released in 2012 subtitled ’24 Years Carat Gold’.

The band’s third album Big City was released by Dracma Records in 1993. Big City was reviewed by many as album of the month.  In 1994 Due and Big City were distributed in Japan by EMI/Toshiba and in Europe by Long Island Records.  A 20th anniversary edition of ‘Big City’ was released in 2012 with two bonus tracks.

After almost ten years of silence, in 2004, Elektradrive started writing songs for a new album: the line up now back to the four original members but without keyboards.

Living 4 is a mature concept album of modern, classy and bluesy AOR with committed lyrics about environment, corporations, water scarcity and general concerns on the state of our planet.  There’s even a track called ‘Fake News’.

The album was released early in 2009 and gained rave reviews in Italian and European music magazines.

Musically, there are references to Kings X (‘Evil Empire’, ‘What We Still Don’t Know’) and Toto (‘Feed The Ground’) in terms of melodic hard rock, but prog influences creep in  on ‘Living 4′  and ‘Get Power From The Sun’ with an unexpected flute solo from Mauro Pagani.

And when they slow it down the band are just as convincing: ‘Do It For Everyone’ is a spine-tingler and the vocal vibe reminds me of Coast To Coast Glenn Hughes but with the purpose of Todd Rundgren, whilst ‘Pain’, ‘You Are Always On My Mind’ and ‘Son Of The Universe’ are other class ballads always topped with a superlative guitar solo from Simone Falovo who now runs a guitar shop in Turin and who co-wrote the material with vocalist Elio Maugeri.

The more upbeat ‘Dirty War of Bloody Angels’ (shades of latter-day Bad Company swagger) and ‘The Water Diviner’ would – like all tracks here – be great live, the latter echoing the best of ‘Start From The Dark’ period Europe mixed with prime-time Queensryche as does ‘In A Superficial Way’.

Reviewing the album for GRTR! in 2008 I wrote “…in between House of Lords and Winger – both turning in exemplary melodic hard rock albums this year – Elektradrive’s current offering sits loud and proud.  This is a class act and a simply wonderful sounding album that inspires, both on a musical and on an emotional level.”

In early 2010 Get Ready to ROCK! produced a promo for the album ‘Living 4′ giving a flavour of the album and the band

Text © 2008-2020 David Randall.  All rights reserved.

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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 4 April 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

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