Reviews February/02

Dominoe / No Silence ... No Lambs / MTM Music 0681-45


Dominoe - Back in business Tracklisting:Secret; Here I am 2002; Sad Songs; We stand together; Face your Fears; Silence; Dark Dogs; Let it rain; Passion and Desire; Down on this dusty Road; You ain't seen nothing yet; Here I an 2002 unplugged + a hidden track.

Just about halfway through the second track "Here I am" I realized that I actually knew Dominoe from Germany!
Until that I just thought it would be another MTM release - and just between you and me.. they haven't been too solid lately. But this album is a BLAST. Solid melodies, a high pitched though hoarse vocal like a mix of Bryan Adams, Eric Martin and Tommy Shaw. But back to track #2 - it actually showed up in the late 80's - 1988 to be precise - as the music for Renaults commercial for their new R5 model!! I was searching high and low at that time to get it on a single - but nobody in Denmark were ever able to get it for me.
Dominoe was a six piece from Munich at the time of the poor beginning they featured two current members Jrg Sieber on vocals and Robert Papst on guitar. Nowadays they are backed up by background vocalist Jane Bogaert (Joshua Kadison, Lionel Ritchie, etc.) - the support section is completed with Christian Birawsky on drums, Henner Malecha on bass and Andreas Linse on Keyboards - and they really show that they stil can cut a pretty song put it in a excellent production and play like they never have done anything else - and "No Silence ... No Lambs" is an exciting release!
Their previous albums "Keep In Touch" (1988) and the Harold Faltermayer produced "The Key" (1990) and "No More Money" (made in 1994 - but never released) was all little pearls af AOR and soft melodic rock. Memorable tracks on this new one are multiple but the powerful and groovy opener "Secret" is rather tastful. But also the "old" track "Here I am" in both versions is a classic, the choir work on it is melodic and GRAND. On all tracks Jrg Sieber amazes me with his high pitched vocals and on the great ballad "We stand together" which is a duet with Jane Bogaert they really shines! - and as an exception Dominoe actually manages to put some new things to a old classic Bachman Turner Overdrive track - I have never heard "You ain't seen nothing yet" performed with bubbly western twang guitar before...!?
So if you are into melodic rock with an edge - with marvellous vocal work - great melodies and solid guitar - Dominoe is right up your alley - right from the first stroke until the last hidden track in samba/bossa nova rhythm!

Silence / Utopia / MTM Music 0681-43


Silence - Frensh melodic hard rock! Tracklisting:Do not Love; A new Freedom; Why not today; Come back; No Life on Planet Earth; Down; Utopia (part I & II); Against the Wind; Chinese Lullaby; Far beyond the Lighthouse; Strange Sounds; Kids in America; Consolation.

Like I mentioned before I haven't been to impressed by the latest releases from MTM - but I never thought a French epic/melodic hard rock could ever change that fact - but Silence has. This is absolutely one of the most exciting releases from France - ever!
Silence is the brainchild of multi instrumentalist Bruno LeVesque who made two previous albums under this moniker. In 1997 he recorded the debut called "The Fifth Season" an all instrumental album - and in 2000 he recorded the second called "Trouble in Paradise" also instrumental! But in the early 2001 he met amazing vocalist Jrme Cazard and the album "Utopia" was in the making!
Cazards vocal range is pretty impressive - I don't know anything about octaves or anything like that - but what I do know is that he outmatches DC Cooper, James LaBrie or even Ronnie Atkins - a voice that can spand from straight soft melodic AOR to progressive/epic and powerful hard rock - actually I've never heard anything quite like this.
According to their web-site LeVesque is influenced by so different bands like Saxon, Mercyful Fate, Vicious Rumours on the Metal side and Asia, Heart, Chicago, Journey and Pretty Maids on the melodic side. And the album reflects these influences very nice. The track "Down" is Cazard's voice backed up by a grand piano - a monster ballad! But the intro to the title track is worth a million - semi acustic, but soon exploding in a melodic mayhem, fabulous and ending with an instrumental outro! The next track is much more heavy - the thundrous intro and spheric vocals could be from the new King Diamond album or even fellow Danes Mercyful Fate - but soon the melodic preferences shows and now Silence changes their musical expression radically. And that is in fact the whole essence here - ever changing expression, but not so fast that I as a listener loses my breath - very tasteful!
I can really recommend this MTM and Silence has released a masterpiece - and even the cover of Kim Wilde's "Kids In America" is fantastic!

Loud & Clear / Disc-Connected / MTM 0681-44


Loud & Clear - Mr. Harnell's tour de force! Tracklisting:Tell me why; Ain't talkin' 'bout nothin'; Fly away; Disc-connected; When I feel like that; Time to let go; Dangerous Imagination; Lovers in the Night; If it takes all Night; Take another Look; I can't wait; You take me higher; You gotta dance.

If someone went to University and wanted to take up the subject Def Leppard - I would give Loud & Clear a straight A! The vocals and overall sound is very inspired by the Lep's around "Euphoria" - and that is delivered in a very solid way, in fact it is remarkable for a bands debut. It gives all bright hopes for the future - although another Brit band has given inspiration, too: FM anno "Tough it out"!
What first comes to mind on the "Disc-connected" album is the vocals extra-ordinaire by Jess Harnell - according to the press material he has a four-octave range, and that may be true, I can only dream of reaching some of his high pitched notes. But let's not forget the other two members. Chuck Duran on guitars and bass and Alex Track on drums and keyboards - they are all very invoLved in the songwriting, arranging and producing the album.
As already stated I really like this album - and some of the memorable tracks are energetic opener "Tell me why" with its multi layered catchy chorus, the fast and powerful title track but the track that really shows the songwriting abilities of the trio and the musical qualities as well is "When I feel like that" - but in the more balladesque mood on "If it takes all Night" or the very emotional "You take me higher" the band also shines!
This debut is played by a three-some of very talented musicians with a rare sense of melody combined with extra ordinary musical abilities - so my advice is - Bye or die! If you are a sucker for catchy choruses and screamin' guitars Loud & Clear is whipped cream down your throat.

Steen Peitersen 1999-2002