Reviews December/06

Zion / Zion / FR PR CD 313


Zion - Alias Freddy Curci! Tracklisting:All it takes is a Minute; How much longer is forever; One Man alone; Dangerous; I'm running Home; Everybody's watching; No Surprise; The Sky is falling; The Devil's Dance; Who do you think you are; Crash the Mirror.

Zion is first and foremost Freddy Curci. He is arguably one of the best vocalists in rock history. He's got the combination of vocal talents that all singers strive for. He can sing a ballad with a beautiful, smooth voice like Steve Perry of Journey or Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon and then turn around and belt out rockers with a rough edge on his voice like Brad Delp of Boston, as it says in the press material. But my overall impression with Curci's Zion project is not that overwhelming. He started out his career in Sheriff and was actually in The World Record book for holding a note for almost 30 seconds in the number one song in the USA charts “When I'm With You”. But my first real breathtaking experinces with Mr. Curci was when him and former Sheriff bandmate Steve DeMarchi on guitar formed Alias together with ex-Heart members Steve Fossen, Mike Derosier and Roger Fisher. Alias only released one album in 1989. But to me it is stil an all time favorite.
Don't get me wrong Zion is not a bad album - as a matter of fact it starts out really good with "All it takes is a minute" which is very much in the vein of Alias, and continues with the rockier "How much longer is forever" and "One man alone" - but somehow Curci has lost his the magic touch to his voice - or maybe the melodies are not strong enough. But nevertheless it lacks a bit - compared to Curci's previous bands... He tries to reach the glass breaking tones on "Dangerous, so I must give the man some credit. On the balladesque "I'm running Home" he is at his peak, though.
Freddy had to struggle though, the Zion album took almos four years to finish. Freddy Curci himself puts it this way: “I got really sick for a long time and I couldn't sing for over a year, but I'm glad to say things are much better now and I am very excited to come back after such a long time! I could not even realize so much time passed. I guess in my mind I never left."
Featured on Zion are professional musicians such as Jason Hook (ex-Bulletboys) and Joey Scoleri on guitars, Paul Marangoni (Kim Mitchell, The Works, Coney Hatch) and Joey Greco on drums, Ken Malandrino on bass and Ross Greene on keyboards with the collaboration of Fabrizio Grossi on bass as well. Curci penned the songs with Steve DeMarchi, Jeff Paris, Marc Ribler and Bob Marlette, among others! Hummmmm...;-)

Da Vinci / Back in Business / MTM 0681-170


Da Vinci - A long lost Norwegian! Tracklisting:Touchdown; Call me a Liar; Young Hearts; 9 and 10; Turn down the Lights; Millions like Us; Pink Champagne; Circus Maximus; Hold back the Tears; last Time; Blame it on the Radio (bonus track).

Earlier this year, MTM Classix serie released the debut album of Da Vinci originally released back in 1987. At then - by me - considered a bit like a discount version of Dalton and/or Fate.
Now it is time for the Scandi AOR dudes from Norway to have their much more complex and strong 2nd album "Back in Business" from 1989 out with a digitally remastered sound and with a bonus track called "Blame It On The Radio". If you own the debut album then you know what to expect because this one goes in the same style but to my mind so much better. There are more hummable songs here driven by the keyboard orientated quintet. There are several tracks that I would like to mention: "Call me a Liar" is a good semi-ballad with a great big chorus and a nice guitar solo in the end, ") and 10" is more rockier and reminds me of Fate's debut, nice;-), the real Da Vinci is flashed on the track "Pink Champagne" with its great big chorus, a nice hookline including an Hammond sound mixed with the guitar - very nice.... My favorite must be the hookier "Hold back the Tears" where the singer gets a bit more rough and edgy! So if you - like me - are an absolute sucker for big wimpy and fluffy 80s keyboard driven AOR in the same vein as Dalton and Fate, and probably several bands hailing from Sweden, Norway and/or Denmark from that period this is something you must have collection.

Royal Hunt / Live 2006 / FR PR CD 314


Royal Hunt - Live in Sct. Petersburg! Tracklisting Disc1:Paper Blood; Time; The Mission; Never give up; Can't let go; Last Goodbye; Follow me; Cold City Lights.
Tracklisting Disc2:Martial Arts; Surrender; Running Wild; Far Away; Lies; Wasted Time; Message to God; Epilogue; Long Way Home (bonus track).

Royal Hunt started out as a Danish band (with André Andersen originally hailing from Russia) - but is now a multi ethnic orchestra featuring members from Denmark, Sweden and The United States. And they play very much like the whole world is their stage - and I mean THEIR stage.
Royal Hunt has released 8 studio albums: “Land Of Broken Hearts”, “Clown In The Mirror”, “Moving Target”, “Paradox”, “Fear”, “The Mission”, “Eye Witness” and “Paper Blood”. All true masterpieces and featuring 3 different singers - with John West as their current.
Royal Hunt underwent a major transition in December ‘04 when guitarist Jacob Kjaer and bass player Steen Mogensen both left. André and John then installed swedish 6-stringer Marcus Jidell and former drummer Kenneth Olsen. The bass position was filled in July by HOUSE OF SHAKIRA man Per Schelander.
They picked the historic stage of Sct. Petersburg’s Music Hall to film their new “Live 2006” DVD on. A beautiful old theatre and some 1000+ enthusiastic fans created great atmosphere for this event, which lasted about 2 hours (the band played a wide selection of songs from all of their releases since 1991 and some tracks from the latest one – “Paper Blood”) and was captured by 7 cameras. The DVD also includes some backstage footage as well as interviews with band members and their road crew, while the 2cd set is the ultimate ROYAL HUNT package, an essential item for all the long time fans.
If you haven’t seen this band on stage yet – go get “Royal Hunt 2006” CD/DVD just to see the musical elegance and/or just to get updated with a Royal Hunt best of... this is good!

© Steen Elstrup Pejtersen 1999-2006