Reviews June/01

Grand Illusion / The Book Of How To Make It / ESM063


Grand Illusion - Melodic Swedes Tracklisting:Feeling strangely fine; I don't wanna know; Boys last Night out; Accidentally on purpose; The Book of how to make it; Whatever; 105 (and running); Parachute; Don't wait up; Crazy from the Heat; Death og me.

In fact this is the Swedish groups third album - the first two under the name Promotion and on their own label. But now they have changed their name to Grand Illusion and has a deal with Escape Music.
But that is in fact all the change - because the band is almost the same with the two lead-vocalists Peter Sundell and Per Svensson, bassist, guitarist and keyboardplayer Anders Rydholm, drummer Christian Sundell and guitarist Ola Karlsson. But they have cut out the horn-section and the former westcoast-esque approach - it's now 100% AOR proof scandinavian (hard) rock. As usual the album has been arranged, recorded, mixed and produced by Anders Rydholm himself and he can catch that scandinavian AOR sound - with the tasty guitars, big choruses and great songs with an attitude.
This album is a real killer, the best in 2001 so far, but of course I have some favorite tracks. First track to stand out is the opener "Feeling strangely fine" which is Rydholms own favorite, it has a good catchy riff, a powerful chorus and great lead vocals - be aware of the high pitched entrance to the second chorus - it can get glass to explode! A track that I can hear over and over again and hum i my shower is "Boys last Night out" with a great breaking rhythm and marvellous vocals (again). On the more soft side there is "Parachute" with an acustic intro a big big attitude - very dramatic. And the last one I will mention is the title track - Eddie Van Halen will be going home for guitar lessons if he heard the outro guitar - great!
It's an album that will have a very big room in my collection - in some way I don't think it will be overruled this year - this kind of records is right up my alley - to be recommended!

Soul Doctor / Soul Doctor / MAS CD0291


Soul Doctor - Tommy Heart in a good shape! Tracklisting:Soul Doctor; Shake 'em on down; Goodbye; Before the Night is over; Unspoken Words; What do U want; Who will be there; You're all that I want; Down the BLVD.; Emotion in motion; Does it feel like love.

Soul Doctor is the title of the record, the bands name and of course the title of track #1 (a Foreigner cover) by this POWERFUL German foursome. This great release is fronted by former V2 and Fair Warning vocalist Tommy Heart - and he is in a wonderful shape. By his side is ex Bonfire bassist Jörg Deisinger, ex Fair Warning drummer Athansios "Zacky" Tsoukas and a to me unknown guitarist called Chris Lyne.
I think this band is some of the best coming out of Germany for many years! Mr. Heart has never sound better - powerful, rough and honest. He really gives new life to rather good Foreigner-cover "Soul Doctor". Combined with a very solid and enthusiastic rhythm section and a very talented guitarist the quartet rather sound Scandinavian than typical "German" like for example Bonfire did.
The reason for calling Soul Doctor Scandinavian is basically the guitar sound that reminds me of Kee Marcello anno "Prisoner of Paradise" and on the track called "Before the Night is over" Tommy Heart sounds a bit like Joey Tempest, too - shoot me if I'm wrong here!
On the album there are several goodies - like I mentioned the great opener continuing with the hard hitting "Shake 'em down". The most groovy track is "Unspoken Words" with the slow and thunderous drumming and Hearts high pitched vocals. But on the album there are also some soulful and slow tracks - "Before the Night is over" is one and the 7 minutes long "You're all I want" is another. My personal favorite though is the happy go lucky track on #9 "Down the BLVD", a powerful riff combined with a pearl of a guitar solo is right up my alley - very good, indeed, and ideal for summer driving with the roof down!
According to the press material "..although nobody in the audience was familiar with SOUL DOCTOR's sound the band rocked every venue on tour with Kingdom Come March 2001" - and I am convinced that this band will rock everybody buying this record - I got rocked, and I liked it!

L.A. Guns / Man In the Moon / SPITCD 179


L.A. Guns - Man In the Moon Tracklisting:Man In the Moon; Beautiful; Good Thing; Spider's Web; Don't call me crazy; Hypnotized; Fast talking Dream Dealer; Out of Sight; Turn it around; Scream.

L.A. Guns had my attention from 1988 to 1991 on their first 3 albums, they were very good. But after "Hollywood Vampires" frontman Phil Lewis formed the project Filthy Lucre and overseen guitarist Tracii Guns went solo.
L.A. Guns has never been innovative - but in their simplicity and roughness they are outstanding. They have this punk/glam attitude from the mid and late 80's and they refuse to sell that attitude for fame and fortune - and for that very honest approach I think L.A. Guns deserve some attention.
The album "Man In The Moon" is very good album if you like "..solid songs, understated playing, street rock warfare and the skill and passion for longevity" - according to their press info! The mix of early Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, New York Dolls and even Led Zeppelin is being presented by nearly original line-up: Brit-born vocalist Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns on guitar, Steve Riley on drums, Mick Cripps on keyboards and Muddy on bass. And this formation (especially Lewis/Guns) has that certain flair for melody and a good song that keeps L.A. Guns "street legal".
Some good tracks are "Dont call me crazy" with the very big guitar solo and powerful drumming. They even have a kind of power ballad on the album - because "Beautiful" being one of two tunes on the album that lean toward candlelight dinner.
Good album with lots of b*lls, great guitarplayng and Lewis' special voice all over it!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2001