Reviews October/04

Shadows Fade / Shadows Fade / FR CD 214

4/5


Shadows Fade - melodic rock featuring Kevin Chalfant and Alex De Rosso! Tracklisting:Twisted again; Sooner or later; Run to me; My Ocean; First Love Song; Without you; Give it in; Masquerade; I won't look back; Now that you're gone; Speak.

Shadows Fade is a long-distance-band featuring the American vocalist Kevin Chalfant and Italian guitarist Alex De Rosso. Chalfant has always been one of my favorite singers of melodic rock from the very beginning in the group 707 - and as one of the main men in Steel Breeze, The VU, The Storm and Two Fires and solo, too he has always been a wandering trademark of quality. He has always mastered the rockier sides to melodic rock as well as the heart wrenching ballads.
Here in 2004 he has joined forces with first and foremost former Dokken/Perfect World guitarist Alex De Rosso who plays nearly evething on the album - but there are several other musicians to contribute the grand sound - such as Nick Savio on rhythm guitars, Michael Gardner and Michael Higgins on additional vocals and Chiara Baro on piano.
According to the press material Alex De Rosso recorded in his Italian based studio all the music backgrounds on his own and exchanged files over the net with Kevin Chalfant.
In a mix of great sounds, good varied melodies, smooth vocals and big guitars this project is a natural contender to the prior bands like VU, Storm and Two Fires. Like those bands its is a balanced cocktail of rockier tracks like opener "Twisted again", "Sooner or later" (a great track) and "Masquerade" and of course ballads like "I won't look back", "First Love Song" and the beautiful naked closing track "Speak". But to me there is especially one track standing out from the crowd and it is the underplayed "Give it in" which from the start hides something dangerous just waiting to explode, and it does - in a good bridge and a beatiful chorus and the best is yet to come - the magnificent guitar solo... great job!
If you are a fan of Kevin Chalfant and his previous jobs Shadows Fade is right up your alley, because he has found a natural soul mate in Alex De Rosso who can play soft and is ready to give it a shot of heavy guitar, too - just listen to the rhythm guitar in "Masquerade"..


Pulse / Worlds Apart / MTM 0681-109

4/5


Pulse - Melodic rock from England featuring Vince O'Regan from Catley's band! Tracklisting:Nothing I can do about It; Worlds Apart; Price of loving you; Talk to my Heart; Lost without you; You're not alone; Feels like the first Time; Break the Chain; Do it all again; In your Eyes; No turning back.

Pulse is a British band featuring the talents of vocalist Simon Abbotts, guitar player Vince O'Reagan, bass player Andy Mills and drummer Scott Barrow.
The big hype regarding the band was in the beginning that Vince O'Reagan was involved with one of the big vocalists of British rock namely Bob Catley -and their good performances on Gods of Rock festivals in 2001 and 2002. But the debut record also featured Al Barrow from Magnum on bass. But on the new (and second) album Pulse has evolved to a band - the hype is now that it has a sound that is very British with Simon Abbotts smooth and silky vocals laying in the foreground, backed up by eminent guitars and memorable keyboard lines - Simon and Vince has collected a more permanent formation with Mills and Barrow, they also sound more of a band now.
"Worlds Apart" is a classic-in-spe a great slice of pure British AOR/Symph rock in the vein of Magnum (around the "Vigilante" record), Heartland and early Dare! And there are several goodies here like grand openers "Nothin' I can do about it" and "Worlds Apart" but also more mellow tracks like "Talk to my Heart", which almost reminds me of Toto in the Joseph Williams-era around "The Seventh One" and the ultimate rock melodies in "Lost without you" and "Do It all again".
So if you are a sucker for melodic rock with a big BIG sound, good melodies and great vocals you won't do wrong with Pulse. I know that I was impressed..;)


Surrender / Surrender / ESM 104

3/5


Surrender - Re-release of the first album plus an EP plus eight unreleased tracks! Tracklisting:Anyway you want; Some People; Nicole; Turn down the Mission; Buddy; Alone too often; Big City Streets; Young Seaman; It's all been done before; Start again; Hold tight; Strange strange Way; Find your Way; Hold me close; Your Love is blind; Melody; You're the Only One that matters; The Light in your Eyes; Polo Bar; I don't want to talk tonight.

Surrender is very much remembered because of the main songwriter Alfie Zappacosta. The Italian born vocalist/guitarist later made a name of his own as a solo artist and contributed to work by Kick Axe and Northern Lights.
But in 1979 it all started with his first band Surrender which released an 8 track record that year, that set aside from the masses by catchy songs like "Some People" and the epic ballad "Nicole" but also tracks like "Find your way", "Turn down the mission" and "Buddy" (with a very long-ringing telephone in the bridge section!) went on to the hitlists in Canada. But it was later - around the mid 8o's Mr. Zappacosta reciewed a Juno award for most promising male vocalist. On the first album Alfie Zappacosta was followed by guys like Geoff Waddington on bass, Steve Jensen on guitar, Paul Delaney on drums and Peter Curry on keyboards.
Three years after the debut the band Surender released a 4 track EP featuring the tracks "It's all been done before", "Start again", "Hold tight" and "Strange strange way". At that time the band was reduced to a trio of Zappacosta, Jensen and Delaney. It was more AOR oriented and smooth - and the opener "It's all been done before" is a wonderful example of a great guitar riff supported by an outstanding vocal (sometimes in falsetto) and swirling keyboards. As a contrast the partly acustic "Start again" shows other sides to Zappacosta's talent.
The icing on the cake however are the 8 last tracks which all are bonus tracks from later on in Alfie Zappacosta's career! A great historical document showing some forgotten sides to the late 70's and early 80's. I know that these songs made me remember the 80's with a little twist...


Steen Peitersen 1999-2004