Reviews from November/99
When I first heard Survivors "Too hot to sleep" back in 1988 I was excited
and almost the same feeling I get when this one got a chance in the CD-player.
I don't really know what to expect - it's over 10 years ago
we've heard the Survivor-name in action - Jimi Jamison released an album
in his own name in 1990 "When Loves comes down".
"Empires" is a small masterpiece that combines wellknown reputation
back from the old Cobra days and musical style with nowfound updated
musical expression and showmanship - and Jimi Jamison's voice is in a league
of it's own, with depth, strength and lots of power.
Whether you like the use of the "Survivor"-name or not the guys
on this hard-edged-guitar-oriented record does it very well. New guys is
Chris Adamson on guitar, Joergen Carlsson on bass, Hal Butler keyboards
and Klay Shroedel on drums and taking care of production too!! Besides
the band Michael Sembello and Bobby Kimball also appears on keyboards and
On the album there are 10 new tracks, 1 cover Tom Cochran's "Callin'
America" and 2 live bonustracks, "Burnin' Heart" and "Rebel Son", and in
my opinion every single one of these tracks is essential for this album.
The album is filled with outstanding traks, but I have to name a
few of them. Opener is "Cry Tough" which originally was supposed to be
on Jimi's soloalbum, a perfect choice for a starter, melodic and mid-paced
and with a good solo.
"Run from the Thunder" is one of the tracks that combines past,
present and future, because of it's dark and heavier guitar-sound that
gives me thoughts of old Cobra-stuff.
The titletrack is a duet with Liza Frazier, a very powerful epic
ballad almost 7 minutes long (a leftover from '88) with a good mood
an marvellous singing from both, it suits both Jim and the song with a
female player on the field - this one I had to try in my shower (with a
poor result, I'm afraid)
All in all I think "Empires" is one of the greatest moments in melodic
rock/aor in '99. Jimi Jamisons voice is outstanding, the production is
grand and all song are of a very high quality and excellent played - an
Metropolis is the common playground for guitarplayer/keyboardist/drummer/composer
Stan Meissner and vocalist/bassplayer Peter Fredette. Just close your eyes
and you are in AOR heaven. Smooth, nice, great songs and marvellous performence
are the keywords.
It all started back in 1987 when Stan Meissner were looking for
a suitable vocalist for a track called "Wild and Blue", he saw a video
with Kim Michell featuring Pete Fredette and that's the start of this release.
Because the collaboration went on and off the next years - the two
performers were involved with different projects.
Peter Fredette has performed and recorded 7 CD's with Kim Michell,
recorded with among others Allanah Myles, Streetboys and Ian Thomas and
toured with Tom Cochran.
Stan Meissner has released 3 CD's "Dangerous Games", Windows to
Light" and "Undertow" and delievered stuff to Celine Dion, Eddie
Money, Alias, Carl Dixon, Triumph and a lots of TV-series and films.
But now they were able to complete an whole album with all the tracks
they have been working on with the help from MTM's Magnus Söderqvist.
Some of the tracks go back to '87 but more are all fresh and new.
The album is filled with killer hooks, top melodies and memorable
refrains - Fredette's voice is absolute high-class and Meissners songwriting
abilities are inquestionable.
The production though is a bit "demo-like" and the drums are sometimes
programmed - but all forgotten when the final track (the titletrack) has
ended 50 minutes of every melodic rockfan's wet dream. Every fan of Spiro,
Toto, Giant, Sahara Snow and others will go berserk.
Starter is of course "Wild and Blue" and gives Mark Spiro hard competition
as AOR-god #1 - Meissner is right on his tail - a tune with very catchy
approach, big big choir and a smashing guitar solo in the middle.
My favorite is "Walk through the Fire" originally on Carl Dixon
album "One" - what a chorus...
But all songs are very good and will not mention every single one
of them - buy it.
This is essential for every AOR fan.
Finally this gentleman from San Antonio has come up with a new release,
and that's a solo release for sure.. all voices, guitars, drums, basses
and keyboards are handled by Morales himself.
It's very strong influenced in sound and vocals by Def Leppard/Mutt
Lange anno "Hysteria"but american FM-rock a la Bon Jovi also haunts this
CD. But if you like that - I do, this is good. Michael Morales places himself
between the sound of Rick Springfield and Def Leppard, so he is totally
aware of the obvious influences.
Morales career go way back as a member of the Texan band The Max
- but he took a giant leap as a soloartist in the late 80's and early 90's
on Polygram Records and with brother Ron he has been nominated for several
Grammys (won 2) and produced lots of hits. Eartlier this year Michael Morales
was inducted to the San Antonio Music Hall of Fame.
Despite the sometimes too obvious musical influences it's all very
well played, produced and song. The album kick-starts with a "Bon Jovi
light"-track called "Better Way" and it's very powerful - enjoyable. I
think that's the keyword to this album - enjoyable. After 45 minutes I
was still looking for more tracks, for me the most outstanding ones are:
"Change the World", with it's big choir it's a real sing-a-long. "Blood"
which is very like Leppard's "Animal" - very catchy indeed. And finally
the track that ends this "No Way out", which is a bit more relaxed almost
a Westcoast feel to it, and therefore far more individuality - I like that
All in all it's a very good comeback - well delivered, but lacking
a bit in individuality.