Technically the band was formed in 1979 but split in 1983 and reformed in 2008 with a couple of original members. I dunno, maybe it’s my age but I kind of like knowing the fire still burns in older rockers. So, despite not knowing much of anything about them. We have a cover redolent of Bad Company though…ah in we go.
‘The Wraith’ up first and we get a nice clean hard rock production and a very American sounding riff to me. The vocals strike immediately; Simon Saxby is a distinctive and tuneful, slightly nasal singer. Kind of an unholy cross between Joe Elliot, Steve Perry and Biff Byford…! The track is fun too… All squealing guitar, scampering leads and a kind of laid-back US blues tinged 80s hard rock sound. It’s not bad. Raises hopes accordingly.
‘Betrayed’ is similar; mid-tempo, hugely melodic, pulsing base and solid drums and the vocals and guitar taking the spotlight again. It is slick but the vocals add the edge to the Journey, maybe a little Toronto tinged sound.
Hey nice start.
I get the wobbles with ‘Blind’. It’s well executed as the band are clearly very comfortable together, but frankly it’s a maudlin, somewhat insipid ballad (with no power bit despite the lead break). Even as a teenager I’d have skipped this.
The title track thankfully finds the gears again in a very US/Canadian 79-80 style. It’s got that kind of weird gravity and hint of shadows that so many sadly forgotten bands had – 1994, Headpins, Spyder, 707, that kind of thing. It is really very good, catchy and driving. ‘Souls Of Evermore’ is Ok, but reminds me so much of a song I just can’t trace back in my memory. ‘Circumstances Change’ though is another ballad, that narrative style of simple lives that littered albums in the 80s. It has a bit of power and it’s better than the first one, just barely. ‘Sentinel’ returns to the mid paced radio rockers though, a lovely song that sounds like it should be on a throwback 80s thriller. I’m using 80s a lot here, but don’t take that as a criticism; this is a hell of a lot better than those flare wearing witchy 70s throwbacks….
‘Victorious’ I guess has a bit of a stomp-lite about it and does make me notice how good the backing vocals are here, studio work or not but a bit throwaway all the same. ‘Censored’ probably should have been; the hooks niggle me rather than pull me in and… I don’t know. It just slides by. Closer ‘Queen Serene’ is…go on; guess. Yeah and its worse than the other two by some way. Really sorry if this is for someone special; I’m sure they love it but for me it hits cliché and bland for me and is a disappointing end to the album.
Hmm. A mixed bag then. On the one hand the band sound like a tight and close unit and the production really works for their bright sound and when they get going they are rather nifty indeed. The arrangements are top drawer too which shows they know their way around songs and a studio. On the other the three ballads are…well…just no and there are a couple of other so-so songs. Still, and regardless of the influences noted on the PR sheet, this is still worth a look at if, like me, you have a soft spot for the late 70s early 80s US and Canadian hard rock scenes. And if you get on with the ballads here you could probably add a couple of points to the below. I just think that aspect needs work, and what do I know about love?
Right I’m going to get my Toronto albums out.
Sorry but its…