Reviews August/05

Broke[N]Blue / The Waiting / MTM 0681-137


Broke[N]Blue - Swedish melodic rock par excellence! Tracklisting:How does it feel; Parfect Match; Endlessly; Heaven is all; never the same; Keep me waiting; The Waiting (for a Life); This Time; Rivers are calling; Midnite Show; Let me out; Found it now; First Time.

Broke[N]Blue has always had that magic touch of Scandinavian AOR/Hard Rock sound of the classic era in the mid 80's/ start 90's - but in an updated version, though...
This new album is the first for a bigger label - their debut "Northern Light" from 2001 was released independently and the cover art work (by Rainer Kalwitz), sound production and overall appearence is slightly more "professional". But already then, back in 2001 i was impressed by the quality of main man/guitarist/song writer Lars Abrahamsson & Co. Like on "Northern Light" the line-up in Broke[N]Blue is completed by Peter Gustavsson on vocals, Eva Eggsjö Abrahamsson on vocals, Ulf Vestlund on bass and drums - but also some guests are featured here: Thorleif Robertsson on drums (on 3 tracks), Thomas Persson on drums (on 1 track) and Michael Nilsson on guitar.
Some of the magic about this band is the split vocal duties by Eva and Peter Gustavsson - Eva who reminds of a younger editon of Ann Wilson or Alyson Avenue and Peter who sometimes reminds me of Jimi Jamison or Bryan Adams - but also the writing abilities af Lars Abrahamsson is great. It tops on a track like "keep me waiting" where the vocals are split - otherwise they split the songs among them - and on that specific track the guitar work is outstanding, too! But there are nearly no fillers here - there are over 60 minutes of sheer melodic mayhem... Some of the highlights are the title track with vocals by Eva, but also "How does it feel", "Perfect Match" and the more riff orientated "Rivers are calling" allows both singers to shine with excellent choir work, too! If you like it more soft "Midnite Show" has a great intro and a more uptempo choir - great!
So if you like some of the softer side of the classic Scandinavian sound, Broke[N]Blue is an excellent new provider and welcomed carrier of that torch - you won't be disappointed with this one.

Bai Bang / Best of / SM-03-CD


Bai Bang - A powerful rock act from Sweden! Tracklisting:Lay down; Rock'n'Roll City; I want it; Run to the End; Make my Day; Behind the Enemy Lines; Get off; Peepin' Tom; Only the strong; Cop to Con; Nice Face; Hot Love; X-Ray Specs; Little Child; F.O.F.D; Fantasy lover; Answer; Don't stop;To you; Welcome to the real World.

Bai Bang has made 4 albums until now - "Attitude", "Cop to con", "Enemy Lines" and "Ridin' High" and besides a lot of playing throughout especially motherland Sweden and toured with bands like Pretty Maids, Saxon, Union, LA Guns and Dr. Hook ! This first record on new Swedish label Swedmetal Records must be one of the best party records in the glam/AOR/melodic rock genre this year.
Bai Bang featuring the talents of vocalist Diddi Kastenholt, Pelle Eliaz on guitar, Tony Rothla on guitar, Joachim Sandin on bass and Jonas Langebro on drums. I can't brag about about hearing some of these songs before - except for two covers: "Rock'n'roll City" an old Swedish Erotica track written by Ole Evenrude i believe and Marc Bolan's "Hot Love" - but the album is loaded with hummable songs like the digestable "I want it" but also the very light footed "Run to the End" - which is almost AOR-ish, but as i said there are glam tracks like opener "Lay down" and "Make my Day" and the more ballade-esque and radio friendly "Behind Enemy Lines" - but no matter what style Bai Bang choose all songs are delivered with attitude and carried along with conviction.
So if you're into a party mode you won't go wrong with the best of Bai Bang's back catalogue - and almost all 78 minutes are all worth it!

Journey / Generations / FR CD 254


Journey - Need no introduction, right? Tracklisting:Faith in the Heartland; The Place in your Heart; A better Life; Every generation; Butterfly (she flies alone); Believe; Knowing that you love me; Out of Harms way; In self-defence; Better together; Gone Crazy; Beyond the Clouds; It's never too late (Bonus track).

Journey has always been a favorite of mine, and even if this record isn't among my all time classics "Generations" is way above the average record release anno 2005! Marking the bands 30th anniversary.
I have read some very mixed reviews of this new album - and I, too have mixed emotions towards it - like the band themselves, i suppose. Because as a new little feature all five members: Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, Steve Augeri and Deen Castronovo sings on the album! Of course Augeri is doing the most parts but Castronovo is doing two songs - and the others one each.
The album is of course in mint condition in the sound departement - an old acquiantance Kevin Elson produced and Mike Fraser engineered this treasure. So - like always - there is a splendid possibility of all singers/instrumentalist to shine right through! And personally I think Steve Augeri is one the best singers ever! He outshines everybody in range and especially in high notes - just listen to opener "Faith in the Heartland" and "Better together"!
... talking about singers, there are ups and downs using different singers - but i think Deen Castronovo and Neal Schon does a very decent job! "A better Life" is a real treasure - featuring Deen Castronovo on lead vocals - and Castronovo not that far away from Augeri's voice, and besides the track has some very enchanting rhythm and lead guitar figures, too! As I said a real treasure! But also on the closing track "It's never too late" he leaves a nice impression.
The band themselves feels like they are returning to the more rocking roots of their career. But besides the rock thing Journey got a song about the soldiers over in the Middle East - just listen to the rockin' "Out of Harm's Way" - and the rocking roots shines through in Neal Schon's show off "In self-defence".
Even if this "Generations" release may not be Journey's best, it outranks quite a lot of this years other releases... Better than "Trial by Fire" but not as good as "Arrival", i think!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2005