Frontiers [Release date 07.08.20]
If you’re expecting the polished melodic rock sound of Hugo, Journey or The Storm, then look away now. The clue is in the title.
There’s not many sides of Josh Ramos on display here, and the focus is very emphatically on tough as teak blues rock. Joe (Heaven&Earth) Retta features on 4 of the 12 tracks (there are another 7 vocalists spread across the album). Only their pairing on ‘All Over Now’ survives the torqued up guitar turbulence that dominates ‘Today’s The Day’, ‘Same Old Fears’ and ‘Too Good To Be True’. Even Terry (XYZ) Ilous struggles – on ‘Unbroken’ – to swim against a rising tide of guitar flotsam and cluttered arrangements.
It’s only when Danny (Tyketto) Vaughn pops up on ‘Blameless Blue’, and Harry (Harem Scarem) Hess on ‘I’ve Been Waiting’, that the album begins to sound comfortable with itself. Both are framed in doomy guitar arpeggios and darkly atmospheric keyboard swells to begin with, but fairly quickly burst out into the brightness and lightness of brief, and very welcome melodic rock arias.
Tony (TNT) Harnell then picks up the baton with all the confidence of an experienced relay runner on the bluesy ballad ‘Immortal’, skillfully merging his voice with the song’s mix of psychedelic swirls and pugnacious axework.
Of the rest, only the haunting ‘Forefather’, an old time spiritual, really cuts against the album’s grain, with Eric (MrBig) Martin carrying the song’s epic emotional weight, helped along by a gospel choir.
Surprisingly perhaps, there’s only one instrumental, ‘Ceremony’. It’s a mix of the visceral and the expressive, with some moody introspection thrown in. It carries a dazzlingly simple tune, edgy and not obviously lyrical. It would have been good to see a few more like this sprinkled across the album’s heavy grooves and jagged riffs.
A signpost to the way ahead, perhaps. ***
Review by Brian McGowan
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
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 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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 26 January 2021.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!