AN INTERVIEW WITH TOMI JULKUNEN OF THE MILESTONES (APRIL 2014)

Our appreciation for Finn classic rock outfit The Milestones is well known here at V1.  With the band having just released their fourth album “Higher Mountain – Closer Sun” we felt it would be rude not to catch up with guitarist Tomi Julkunen for another interview.  Enjoy.

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Tomi, many thanks for agreeing to another interview with us at VirtuosityOne, and congratulations on the release of the new Milestones album “Higher Mountain –Closer Sun”.

Thanks Andy, it’s my pleasure. Got to be happy that we are interesting enough that people want to read about us. So much competition and so many bands out there these days, even more than last time we did this.

The new album to my ears is bigger and better than its rather excellent predecessor “Devil In Me”. It seems the band are pretty fired up and motivated right now, is that a fair assessment?

Cheers, yes it is indeed! Devil In Me was a big step for us as the album before that was released 10 years earlier. On DIM we were getting back to our real sound, which is that classic rock / southern rock kinda sound. The band is more motivated than ever and that’s amazing in itself as we’ve been doing this almost 20 years now. Playing is more exciting than ever and I’m sure people who have to record or come to our show can also feel the excitement. It feels like we’re only getting started and really starting to find our own voice.

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Click to read our review

So tell us about the making of the album from start to finish, how soon after “Devil In Me”did the process begin and what happened from there?

We already started writing new songs before Devil In Me was even released. We just jammed and wrote shitload of new songs. We also played some of them live just to see how people react to them. I think we had around 30 songs to choose from. It was cool as now we had to really think which songs we could put on the album. There’s couple of really cool ones that we might do something with later on, of maybe pick a riff from one song and some other part from another song and just combine different parts from different songs.

Once again there is a very live feel to the album. Was it recorded with the band in one room or individual instruments then pieced together?

Cool, that’s what we were aiming for, to get that real live sound. It was recorded with the band in one room to get that feel. We’ve tried different kind of methods but that’s the natural one, all in the same room. Lot of people say that we sound pretty much the same live as on the record so why not, we wouldn’t be able to capture all the energy and the live feel if we recorded separately one instrument at the time. It also lot more fun to play when we’re all in the same room where you can see all the faces, smiles, nods and all that.

We have a nice cross section of material, from good time up tempo rockers like “Walking Trouble”and “Shalalalover”to more mellow moments like “Oh My Soul”and “Grateful”, what were you as a band looking for in this collection of songs and how did you go about setting the track listing?

We wanted it to be rocking and mellow record at the same time. It’s boring if every song has a same kind of tempo or feel to it. Now we have nice collection of up tempo rockers, mid tempo songs and there’s a slow acoustic one too. It’s very balanced record I think. I myself like records like that.

It was great to hear the smoking cover of Foghat’s “Drivin’Wheel”, they are a band that isn’t really that known here in Europe (Slow Ride aside) so it was nice to hear you guys paying them some dues. What led to doing this particular cover?

To be honest, I hadn’t even heard Drivin’Wheel before. I only knew we sounded bit like Foghat and that they’ve been around for ages. It was Tommi, our drummer, who came up with the idea. He played it for us and straight away we knew that it would be perfect song for us to cover. I think Tommi knows someone from Foghat or their roadie or something like that. I’m proud of our version and I think we did a great job. It’s a great song!

What guitar gear did you and Marko Kiviluoma use this time around and how do you two generally go about dividing up guitar duties on the tracks?

We used the same gear we always use; Gibson and Fender Guitars, different models. As for amps I used only my old reliable, Marshall JCM 800 from the 80’s. Marko had his Vox and Ampeg amps. Very basic stuff, some cool boutique pedal like Mad Professors but nothing too fancy. We get different sounds using different guitars with the same amps. That’s the big secret behind our sound.

What do you personally look to add to a song?

Something that compliments the vocals and Markos guitar parts. We never try to play exactly the same, that would be boring. We both have our own styles so it’s pretty cool to come up with different guitar parts. I try not to overplay or play too many solo licks while recording songs. It’s better that way, then you can add some cool licks when playing live.

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Who do you look too in guitar duos in other bands as indicators to how the two guitar thing should be done?

Obviously the guitarists in The Black Crowes, especially from Southern Harmony and Amorica era when Mark Ford was still in the band; The Rolling Stones of course, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy and so on. Those guys know how to interact between two guitars. If you have two guitarists in the band you should be able to handle both lead and rhythm parts, that makes it even more interesting to listen to.

I see you’ve got a few gigs upcoming in Scandinavia, any plans for any further afield?

Yes, the plan is to get the album out in as many countries as possible and then play gigs all over. Of course these things take time to plan and arrange. We still haven’t got any deals outside of Finland but we’re working on it at the moment. We have only one German show confirmed and that’s for 2015. But keep checking the news from our website or Facebook page.

Anything else you’d like to let us know of what’s happening with the band and other projects you have?

We have a new video coming up soon for the song Walking Trouble as it’s gonna be the next single. It was shot at one of our recent live shows. We’re planning to release two radio singles at the same time, one for rock radio and other one for more mainstream stations. We’re also planning some cool stuff for our 20th anniversary which is on September. That might include re-releasing Vol 1. as it’s impossible to get it anywhere, it’s been sold out for years and years. But we’ll see, cool stuff coming up anyway.

Tomi, thanks for your time.

No problem at all, thank you. Looking forward to the next round with the album number five!

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EMPIRE – TRADING SOULS

Out now on Lion Music

Another release in Lion Music’s Limited Edition Digipack reissue series, this review originally ran on the old Virtuosity One website in 2006.

If your musical interests do not expand beyond those of super technically proficient then you may as well stop reading this review right now. If you are a rock fan then read on. ‘Trading Souls’ is guitarist Rolf Munkes second album under the Empire name. The bands debut album featured Mark Boals on vocals on several tracks, but this there second see ex Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin handle all vocal responsibilities. Anders Johansson plays drums on a two tracks – hence the link to Yngwie.

Empire basically specialise in classic sounding hard rock that runs the gamut of commercial to classic. The songs all have very strong melody lines and Martin’s vocals are impeccable throughout. Rolf Munkes guitar work is very much in the vein of ‘for the song’ as opposed to boosting his own personal ego and he proves himself to be a very competent player with a good knack for knocking out a memorable riff and chord progression. Don Airey (Deep Purple/ex Rainbow) handles all keyboards and he makes nice use of a variety of sounds – hammond to orchestral backing, all giving the tracks a nice atmospheric base. The rhythm section is held down by bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake/Black Sabbath amongst many others) and drums are handled by the aforementioned Johansson and Gerald Kloos. The production of the album is very clear and powerful, the mix is impeccable.

My personal favorites are the heavier darker numbers, “Pay Back Time” has a great chorus that whilst not being radio commercial is catchy enough to have you humming it back to yourself later on.

The second half of the album is where the band really hit their stride with some well worked out classic rock that convey the darker element once again whilst managing to keep an eye on melody. “You” manages to combine the Swedish hard rock pound of bands like Damned Nation. “Perfect Singularity” (cool title) which allows room for Martin’s vocal to breathe to maximum effect and its quite Dio in phrasing before the pre-chorus see the mood lighten a listen which in turn changes again for the commercial chorus.  “Wherever You Go” sees the album really hitting its stride and the elements of the bands sound seem to come together here, the chorus is superb and sounds very original, Munkes throws in some nice dirty guitar work and wah drenched unison bends to create a Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) vibe and its my favourite track of the album.

The only thing that lets this album down are the ballads which are a little sickly and Bon Jovi esque in places. Tony Martin even sounds like Jon Bon in places! These are easily enough skipped past, but hey it may make your girlfriend let you listen to some rock!?

Overall ‘Trading Souls’ is a strong album in the classic rock mold yet with a modern edge and great production.

Hot Spots : Wherever You Go, Perfect Singularity, Pay Back Time
Rating : 74%

 

HOUSE OF SHAKIRA – HOS

Released 27 January 2012 on Lion Music

Arguably one of melodic rocks best bands returns with their first album of new material since 2007.  During this time House of Shakira has undergone somewhat of a line-up change with a new rhythm section of Basse Blyberg (bass) and Martin Larsson (drums). But perhaps the most risky change was that of the lead vocalist position.  Replacing the well respected Andreas Eklund is thankfully another gem of a vocalist in Andreas Novak (ex Mind’s Eye and solo).

Any preconceived concerns about the new line-up are quickly dissolved with opening brace of “Brick Wall Falling” and “Changes In My Mind”.  House of Shakira are definitely back with one hell of a wallop, powerful yet full of melodic charm these two tracks represent perhaps the most urgent tracks the band have produced in years.  The slightly heavier/darker edge to much of the music on offer fits well with Novak’s confident vocals which have a nice mix of emotion and strident delivery.  Guitarists Mats Hallstensson and Anders Lundstrom have never been a guitar tag team short of class but here they sound pumped through a succession of strong riff hooks and tasty lead work.

That’s not to say the bands classic sound is missing for its here in most tracks just delivered a little different – dare we say with more enthusiasm?  The production is strong, live sounding, few overdubs and probably represents the bands acclaimed live show well.  It responds nicely to being pumped through a decent hi-fi or headphones at high volumes.

Melodic rock anthems are well catered for in chest thumpers like “Carry My Load”, the radio sheen of “Fractions Of Love” (Def Leppard would kill for a track like this in 2012), “I’ll Be Gone”, “Out Of My Head” and “Voice In The Void” where the bands mix of commerciality and rocking delivery is all present and correct with some of the best vocal and backing vocal hooks you most likely will hear in 2012.

Novak’s arrival also sees the band move into some newer territory as heard on “All Aboard!” and “Midnight Hunger” which rock profusely with the band sounding like they have been let off the leash, it’s a fun new edge to the bands output and works nicely.

Ballads are kept to a minimum on “HoS” with “Lost In Transition” being the only number that could fall under such a banner, whilst mid-tempo country-ish waters are tread in “What Goes Around” with its killer chorus.

Overall, “HoS” marks a fine return from one of the best melodic rock bands going.  This the sound of a band revitalised and perhaps with a point to prove in 2012.  Fans of honest hard rock with a strong dose of melody are well advised to check this out pronto.  A contender for melodic rock album of the year already.

Rating – 95%

TOBY HITCHCOCK – MERCURY’S DOWN

Out now on Frontiers Records

Toby Hitchcock made his mark with Jim Peterik‘s Pride Of Lions. Stepping out from under the wings of his mentor, “Mercury’s Down” sees a collaboration with Erik Martensson (of Eclipse and W.E.T. Fame).

Martensson’s influence is obvious from the off. Opening track “This Is The Moment” is more modern and heavier than anything we’ve heard from Toby so far. “Strong Enough” might be considered a high energy homage to Survivor. Maybe one to include on the soundtrack of an upcoming Rocky movie?

I could sum up all the songs, but what would be the point? It’s strong melodic rock, well produced and perfectly executed. If there was any justice in the world “I Should Have Said” would be a major hit. “Summer Nights In Cabo” lacks Sammy’s happy go lucky touch though.

If you liked W.E.T. Or are a fan of Toby’s work in PoL you can’t go wrong with this album.

Maybe a bit formulaic, that’s about the only criticism I can think of.

Rating – 89%
Review by Sancho

OUTLOUD – LOVE CATASTROPHE

Out now on Metal Heaven

Outloud’s debut album was a fine platter of heavy rock. Can they keep the momentum on this follow up?

Opening track “We Came To Rock” doesn’t bode well. A fairly simple party tune, aimed squarely at the current wave of Swedish sleaze. Fortunately, they pick up the slack. Both “Falling Rain” and “Live Again” have a lot more on offer. These set the tone for the rest of the album. Catchy choruses, nice twin guitars, the odd metal riff… It all blends into a palatable whole. “The Night That Never Ends” and “Isolation Game” are stand out tracks, while “Someday” is the predictable yet competent ballad.

Production is not quite as good as on the debut, but nothing to be ashamed of. Another good album from this bunch, if not quite up to the level of the debut.

Rating – 84%
Review by Sancho

THUNDER – THE MAGNIFICENT SEVENTH (REVIEW)

Formed in 1989, from the ashes of the pop rock combo Terraplane, Thunder went on a hugely succesful run in Europe and Japan on the back of the albums “Backstreet Symphony“, “Laughing On Judgement Day” and “Behind Closed Doors” in addition to these albums the band had excellent b-sides for singles with “No Way Out The Wildnerness” still being one of my favourite hard rock tracks ever. But then for some reason they changed, out went the traditional English hard rock values to be replaced with more experimental pop overtones that always seemed forced to these ears, also we said goodbye to the rock clothes to be replaced by designer gear which did not suit the music and only served to alienate fans including myself.  So its with some relief that the last year or so have seen Thunder return and seemingly rediscovered what made them great in the first place.  “The Magnificent Seventh” sees the return of the classic English hard rock sound that is home to strong melodies, great hooks and good riffs. 

Opener “I Love You More Than Rock N Roll” is typical Thunder fare and despite a good midsection only hints at the quality displayed elsewhere. However the Rolling Stones good time feel on the chorus will be sure to win more than few fans in the live arena.

“The Gods Of Love” really sees the album get started with a psychadelic intro before blasting into prime Thunder territory with its irresistible chorus which sees Danny Bowes’ voice in fine fettle. Luke Morley and Ben Matthews are riffing with their distinctive trademark guitar tones and the old magic is well and truly alive here.

The eastern tint on the riff of “Monkey See, Monkey D”o hints at the Led Zeppelin influence in Luke Morley’s arsenal of tricks and could easily have come from 1995’s overlooked “Behind Closed Doors” album. The chorus is classic Thunder and again this will go down a storm in the live arena. The track is further enhanced thanks to the inclusion of deft orchestrated touches.

“I’m Dreaming Again” is a delicate track where the vocals of Danny Bowes tickles the senses and really allows the emotion in his voice to shine. The verse has a good quality before the chorus which will set the singles chart alive. The guitar solo here is also a nice addition to the emotional content on display elsewhere.

Top 40 is written all over “Amy’s On The Run” which is home to a quality only British rock bands can reproduce. The chorus and bridge here are superb and infectious and Morley’s guitar solo is the icing on the cake.

“The Pride” is home to a kickin riff from Morley and Ben Matthews that is again classic Thunder.  Bowes delivers a simple melody line for the verse but the chorus is another winner with his voice sounding as good as it ever has – arguably Britain’s best rock singer in the last 20 years.  Amidst the hard riffing there is a moment of melodic intent in the excellent first solo and breakdown before the Les Paul attack kicks back in for another meaner solo – a highlight.

“Fade Into The Sun” opens with a staccato figure not too disimilar to the Stones “Gimme Shelter” (which the band did a killer cover of btw), this then travels into a straigher rocking home with the emotional content high in Bowes vocals.  The second verse sees the straighter rocking sound built on and when it moves into the chorus its a defining moment of the album. Another good solo adds more value to the track before the a bridge takes the track to a new level before going back to the intro riff, another highlight of the album.

The musically mature “Together Or Apart” is home to some Free-ish overtones particularly on the verse, Bowes vocals ooze class again and this is another style in which Thunder excelled 10 years ago and proves they still have it.  The track builds extremely well throughout its 6 minute running length and I can see this track taking on the classic status of tracks such as” Higher Ground” and “Until My Dying Day”.

“You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” is one of the goodtime rockers Thunder always seem to dish out, and its nothing overly special, the chorus is good but compared to some of the other material here it does come across as slightly weaker.

“One Foot In The Grave” begins with a bluesy railroad overtone before the electric guitars kick in and is sure to make this another winner on the live stage.  The solos are again very good – Morley has a distinctive style that is a mix of Joe Perry, Jimmy Page and Brian Robertson with an excellent melodic sense. 

Album closer “One Fatal Kiss” is another of the bands classic rockers, the verse is stronger than the chorus (the backing vocals are a little annoying) but generally its another of the weaker tracks on offer but by no means a poor way to end the album.

“The Magnificent Seventh” sees Thunder return in fine style and indeed picking up the baton from where they left on in 1995 with “Behind Closed Doors”.  The music sounds honest again and indeed Bowes vocals are more at ease in this format – and excel.  Luke Morley shows what a class act he is whilst the rhythm section of Chris Childs (bass) and Harry James (drums) create a very solid foundation that allows the track to take the listeners attention.  They provide exactly whats needed in a Hard Rock context and allows Bowes, Morley and Matthews to really get the songs out there.    There is a lot of very good material here and with a bit of luck Frontiers will get some singles out there as well as give a good touring budget.  With a bit of luck I hope to see them at a venue near me soon.
 
Hot Spots : Monkey See Monkey Do, The Pride, Fade Into The Sun, Together Or Apart.
Rating : 92.0%

WHITE WIDDOW – WHITE WIDDOW

Out now on AOR Heaven

This Australian band delivers their debut album through AOR HEAVEN. Their intention is to deliver 80s style hard rock and AOR. Well, mission accomplished!

Keyboard driven melodic hard rock, as evidenced from the go in opening track “Tokyo Rain”, is the order of the day. Think mid 80s West Coast AOR.  Comparisons? Well, Cry Wolf comes to mind, as does Icon. Early Aldo Nova is another reference.

The band keeps the pace up on strong tracks like “Cross To Bare” and “Spirit Of Fire”.  Of course there’s the odd (semi)ballad. “Shadows Of Love” has all the necessary ingredients.  The musicians are competent, the singer solid. The guitar leads are tasty and the keyboards fill the spectrum nicely (see “One More Day” for proof).

The one weak spot has to be the production. It’s on the dry side and, well, it sounds a bit cheap. The thin rhythm guitar sound doesn’t help…

A very enjoyable album that will take most of us back to better days.

Rating – 85%
Review by Sancho

FIRST SIGNAL – FIRST SIGNAL (ARCHIVE)

Out now on Frontiers Records
 
Touted by the label as the successor to Harem Scarem, First Signal is essentially a collaboration between Harry Hess and Dennis Ward.  I never really cared for Harem Scarem, so I was curious to see if this new project could tickle my fancy.

Most of the tunes fall on the heavier side of the AOR fence. I’m not exactly taken by Hess’ voice, but that’s personal taste. The man is a good singer by anybody’s standards.

Overall the album has a decidedly 21st century vibe about it, not in the least because of some of the keyboard arrangements. The songwriting is classy enough not to have to rely on gimmicks though. There’s no misguided attempts at mainstream airplay either.

Michael Klein is an excellent guitarist who adds the necessary flourishes. With Dennis Ward on board, there’s no need to worry about production. Crisp and alive, an excellent job.

Another highly competent melodic rock release.

Rating – 88%
Review by Sancho

HELGE ENGELKE OF FAIR WARNING INTERVIEW (ARCHIVE)

Interview conducted 10th September 2009

Fair Warning are for many considered one of the true greats of hard rock, possessing an instantly recognisable sound the band have delivered the goods consistently across their career.  New album “Aura” is arguably their best yet having all the bands trademarks, superb vocals, great melodies superb musicianship all topped off with the glorious virtuoso guitar work of Helge Engelke.  We caught up with Helge to discuss the new album’s creation and his approach to guitar and much more.  If you haven’t already check out our review of “Aura” here.  Enjoy the interview.

Many thanks for agreeing to this interview. The new Fair Warning album “Aura” has been out for almost a couple of months now, how has the reaction been from fans?
The reaction of fans has been very good so far. We receive a lot of mails from fans telling us how much they like “Aura”. A new album always gets compared with the ones you did before. The funny thing this time is that everybody compares it with a different one. Some say it is like/better Rainmaker, some compare it with ”Go”, others find similarities with “Four” or our first one. Well, thinking twice there is a little weak spot in this way of finding out how fans like “Aura”. Those who don`t like it would not write e-mails, would they? Maybe I should have said: “ We receive a lot of positive mails, none complaining yet”.

I think new album is great, having all the hallmarks of the classic FW sound, yet doing it with a power and enthusiasm that most bands find hard to sustain when they have an extended back catalogue. How do you guys manage to keep fired up for more?
That is down to the chemistry in the band. We all have slightly different tastes, even with our back catalogue we hardly agree on what we like best. Tommy for example really likes the first one. That is not my favourite one, I would pick some songs from each of our records. Then there is this “go new ways” vs. “stick to your guns” discussion, I always liked to experiment with sounds and arrangements, like bringing in new sounds ,what we did since “Rainmaker”, Then sometimes the other guys come and say” What’s this noise”. So it’s a constant, positive, fight and sometimes rather troublesome. B U T in the end, and after all we always managed to find a mixture of all that and I think that is what makes a big part of Fair Warnings identity. There’s one thing we all easily agree on and that is “When we do a record together it should be a good one”. So everybody is fighting for what he thinks best for the record. And nobody is really giving in.

What really struck me is how strong all the band members still are at their respective instruments. Your guitar playing improves year on year, Ule is just a monster on this album and Tommy’s voice has if its possible got more powerful. How do you maintain improving on what many people might already see as perfection?
The nice and annoying thing about Fair Warning is, when looking back we most of the times say, we’ll do better next time.

The album I believed was recorded at a 400 year old manor house, what role did the location play in the sound of the album?
After having recorded our first album, we decided not to waste money in expensive studios anymore, being constantly under time pressure.  Rather bring the equipment in work at your own pace. It worked very well since “Rainmaker”, so we try to be affordable houses with a nice vibe and atmosphere to mainly record, vocals, drums and bass.

Where your guitars recorded there as I was under the impression you recorded all your guitars at home?
Guitar-recordings and the mixing was done in my little studio.

How do Fair Warning generally go about writing a song?
It’s Ule and me writing songs and we both work alone. We make our own home demos singing on them and then play it to each other and to Tommy and CC.  When it comes to arranging we start to work together, even though Ule’s and my demos are quite clear.

What can trigger the creative spark for a song idea?
With me it could be anything, a riff or a line coming while playing the guitar, some words which make a nice line, a vibe, an abstract idea. I always disliked labelling a song a “rocker” or a “ballad”, because sometimes means that we all say ”Ah, not another ballad”. For quite some time I was wishing I could write a song which could be both. That way “As snow white found out” came about. Took some time.

At what point in the process will Tommy come up with vocal melodies and will that dictate where the song ultimately goes?
Both Ule and myself record our demos with our, well, singing. So the melodies are already there.

The opening brace of “Fighting For Your Love” and “Here Comes The Heartache” sure make a statement of intent, how much work do the band put into making sure the running order is right for each album? What do you look for in a running order and who gets the final say on it?
The running order of “Aura” Tommy did and there were no objections.

Your guitar work is a true joy for me, being a big Uli Jon Roth fan I instantly feel at home in your guitar work, yet you are perhaps more straight-ahead rock than Uli. What lead to you developing your style and what do you see your style as?
My limits. When you start playing the guitar most of us have certain heroes. So had I. Unfortunately I never could decide what to be like when I’m grown up. So it’s a mixture of all my influences.  On the other hand, whenever I wanted to sound like somebody else, copying a solo or a riff, it never sounded quite right, it always somehow sounded like me. Took me years to accept that as a blessing rather than a curse. Still I enjoy to hide some “quotes” every now and then in my playing on every record I ever did and see if people find out.

Like Uli you use a custom made guitar with extra frets, I know you own one of Uli old six string Sky guitars so how did you about designing an instrumented suited for you?
I loved Uli’s idea of having the range of a violin on guitar. My guitars I designed together wit a guitar luthier, Thomas Stratmann (it’s his real name, nothing to do with strat), from my hometown Hannover and he built these guitars for me.

The tones on “Aura” sound like you used a whole bunch of gear, can you give us a brief rundown on what you used?
Its all in this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRDOYQ3Mfks

What will you use live?
Hopefully my rack which consists mainly of a Hafler/Bogner triple giant and a Mesa boogie strategy 500, plus some effects and two Ac30 with a Roland 301 for the crunchy sounds. Recently I sometimes replaced the Ac30’s with Fender supersonic amps. For guitars just my main guitar.

If you could only have 1 guitar and 1 amp what would you choose?
My guitar and a Fender Supersonic, but I would not be a completely happy man with just that.

I believe the band have just completed a Japanese tour and have a bunch of European dates coming up, how is the tour going in comparison to others and what you like and dislike about being on the road?
No,we haven’t played any electric shows yet. I just came back from the rehearsal room when I found your mail. Touring will start in October. Playing is always fun, but I really dislike when I cannot use my equipment and have to sound like crap.

What’s next for Fair Warning?
Touring.

Helge, many thanks for your time.
Thank you Andy.

OFFICIAL WEBSITES
http://www.fair-warning-de
http://www.myspace.com/therealfairwarning

TONY HARNELL & THE MERCURY TRAIN – ROUND TRIP (ARCHIVE REVIEW)

Out Now – Frontiers

Not what I expected. That’s the least I can say about Tony Harnell’s latest project.
Harnell has decided to give us unplugged versions of some favourite songs from his 25+ year career. We’re all familiar with the roaring originals, so these subdued versions will probably strike you as a bit odd at first.

Of course Harnell’s voice is instantly recognizable, but the average hard rock fan would be well advised to listen before buying. The songs stand up well in their new guise (some of the new arrangements are actually bloody brilliant) but if you’re anything like me you’ll be left hankering for Ronnie Le Treko’s or Mark Reale’s blistering guitars. I have to say I was particularly curious about “10.000 Lovers” and I’m glad to confirm it’s one of the standout tracks here.

A very hard album to rate. Perfectly suited for a mellow evening with the missus. If you want to rock out there’s always the original versions by the respective bands.
From this point of view it easily rates an 85. It actually puts most bands’ pedestrian attempts at going unplugged to shame. If on the other hand you were hoping for a helping of heavy rock just steer clear…

Rating – 85%
Review by Sancho