Reviews July/00

Two Fires / Two Fires / Frontiers CD 041


Two Fires - Kevin Chalfant & Josh Ramos at their best! Tracklisting:My Love will be there; I won't give up on us; Piece of my Heart; When Love is gone; Summer of Love; Surrender; A Man's gotta do what a Man's gotta do; Remember; Never stop loving You; Alyssia; I believe in You; I can see You; River of Destiny.

Put this album in your music equipment and you will be in 80's AOR heaven! Two fires is the project of two major stars in the genre - Kevin Chalfant and Josh Ramos.
Both musicians were active in The Storm and has managed to carry that musical tradition on. Two Fires is a mix of that big hookladen ballads with loads of good choir work and guitardriven mainstream AOR - ideal for sunday ride in your car with the sun roof down!
Kevin Chalfant's crystal clear high pitched and hoarse vocals is outstanding and combined with the well timed and outrageous guitar work by Josh Ramos the torch of Journey, The Storm, Le Mans and others is being carried on very well - maybe there isn't much of musical surprise here but all songs are that well performed that the recognition is more than half the pleasure.
The album is produced by Kevin Chalfant himself and George Tutko (XYZ and Alias) and allows every musician on the record to do what ever he does - very well, indeed. On the album "the merry couple" has joined forces with Alby Odum on guitars, Willie Weeks on bass, Jim Peterik on keyboard and last but not least Kenny Aronoff on drums - all classy folks in the genre, I can't imagine a more ideal combination to create a perfect sound, feeling and attitude.
The album is filled with quality tracks but some of the most outstanding are the guitar driven "Remember" with a extraordinairy guitar solo in the middle, the happy "Summer of Love", the very Storm-esque "Never stop loving you", the Chalfant/Peterik penned "River of Destiny" and the sweet ballad "I believe in you".
According to the press material the album is ".. pure, straightedge AOR - a massive masterpiece that will relaunch this style of music in the new millennium." - I will not disagree!

Good Rats / Cover of Night / FR CD 048


Good Rats - Featuring  a lot of guest stars! Tracklisting:Cover of Night; Get it right; Thunder rocks my Soul; Feelin' good again; Love on the Beach; Evil Little Boy; Major minor Chord; Crazy, wild and angry; She's staying home tonight; Hotline; Snakebite; Football Madness.

Good Rats has been around for quite a while now. This group originally formed during the 70's by Mr Peppi Marchello, lead singer and main songwriter of the band.
During that period of hard rock fame the band released 7 records - all reissued on CD now, and they managed to be on tour with people and bands like Bruce Springsteen, Meat Loaf, Ozzy Osbourne, Rush, Heart, Kiss, Journey and Aerosmith!
On this new release Peppi Marchello has changed a bit in the original line-up and included his two sons Stefan on drums and Gene on guitar along with Dean Giuffrida on bass. But one the clues to this record is that Peppi has a large variety of guest stars on it. For example does Bruce Kulick hit a tremendous guitar on a track called "She's staying home tonight" where also David Rosenthal is featured on keyboards and Schuyler Deale on bass.
Peppi has also called a good friend from ol'days in on drums - the mighty Joe Franco, known from his work with Twisted Sister!
On the record there are several good songs - "She's staying home tonight" is one of them with its stylish arena sound - but a track that stands out to me is "Major minor Chord" with Mr. Marchello sounding a bit like Jon Anderson from Yes but in a jazzy mood!!
The soundstyle of this new CD is quite varied referring to the sound of bands like the before mentioned Kiss, Journey, Queen and other arena bands from the 70's and 80's.
Just check out opener "Cover of Night" to realize the band's powerful approach to melodies and hooklines.
This release is essential to any lover of the big hookladen rock'n roll from the glorious days in th 70's and 80's - a very good one, indeed!

UFO / Covenant / SPV 085-21892-P


UFO - Michael Schenker is back Tracklisting:Love is forever; Unraveled; Miss the Lights; Midnight Train; Fools Gold; The Middle of Madness; Smell of Money; Rise again; Serenade; Cowboy Joe; The world & his Dog.
+ Official Live Bootleg:Mother Mary; The Kids; Let it Roll; Out in the Streets; Venus; Pushed to the Limit; Love to love.

Surprise, surprise. I thought that UFO-members vocalist Phil Mogg and bassist Pete Way had seen the last to guitarist Michael Schenker after their split during the tour that followed the brilliant "Walk On Water" around 1997/98. But old problemes has been ironed out - luckily! This time they have skipped keyboardist Paul Raymond and drummer Simon Wright but have recruited master-drummer Aynsley Dunbar!
This combination must have some gasoline and fire in it because its explosive. From the first notes in the first tune "Love is forever" theres is no doubt - UFO is back with a monster-album!
On the album the four musicians makes me combine the past, the present and the future. Because they never can let go of their previous achievements - and a track like "Miss the lights" will remind hardcore fans of the "Phenomenon"-era anno 1974 but also the track "Midnight Train" has strings back to the glorious days anno 1975 and "Force It".
"Covenant" to me is a promise of a glorious future, too. The album was recorded and produced by Mike Varney in San Francisco - so the sound is outstanding. Schenker is as always out of this world - his riffs and lightning solos are breathtaking. Dunbars drumming is powerful with infallible timing and Moggs voice is charismatic, clear and emotional.
The album is full of classic-to-be tracks, and to me this is their best album, ever! The whole feel on the album oozes of joy and pleasure of making music. Maybe hardcore fans will disagree but a track like "The middle of Madness" is a monster-track, with all it takes to be one of the favorites in the future.
As a bonus there is a live CD - recorded in 1995. It very much summes it all up!

Steen Peitersen 2000