Reviews November/02

Jeff Scott Soto / Prism / Frontiers CD 129


Jeff Scott Soto - Back to the melodic roots!! Tracklisting:Eyes of Love; Heaven knows; Don't come easy; Don't wanna say goodbye; I want to take you higher; Holding on; 2 late 4 Goodbyes; Till the End of Time; How long; By your Side; Don't walk away.

Jeff Scott Soto has been called in many times to do vocals on all kind of different albums. With him as a vocalist you can't go that wrong - he has one of the best voices in hard rock these days. This time he is on his own - on "Prism" he wrote most of the material, he produced and he even played some keyboards and bass! What an impact this album had on me!
Jeff Scott Soto solo is a sucker for a good melody, and if I should compare "Prism" with some previous material it must be in the melodic vein - such as Takara or Eyes, and not near his 1995 debut (as a solo artist) "Love Parade" which I remember as quite funky.
The album starts out with the most powerful track called "Eyes of Love" - also included as a QuickTime bonus video - it is hard rocking but also very melodic with a catchy chorus and a SPLENDID guitar solo. The album features rocky tracks like the before mentioned, but also some heart wrenching ballads on every second track and a funky duet with Glenn Hughes called "I want to take you higher" - an old Sly & the Family Stone track.
Besides JSS himself, the album features the talents of Alex Papa on drums, Gary Shutt, Howie Simon, Alex Lllorens and Brian Young on lead guitars, Jay Michael, Mikos Scarbacci, George Bernhardt and Steve Acosta on guitar, Sam Isanogud on keyboards and Michael Scott, Jay Michael, Anthony Papa and Doug McRoy on bass. And they do it all very well - the album has a natural flow and the general impression is that it works!
All in all I think this album rocks - Jeff Scott Soto is definitely in Premier League, and as a solo vocalist he had returned to the more melodic aspects of his musical range and that seems to suit him. A very fine album indeed!

Affair / No Substitute / MTM Music 0681-58


Affair - German melodic rock! Tracklisting:No Substitute; Get going; Inside out; Return forever; Life on a Wire; Magic Radio; Game of Love; Keep me alive; Back in the Race; Fire still burning; Why why.

Affair must be a forgotten gem in the history of German melodic rock - for a long time bands like Bonfire, Jaded Heart and Fair Warning has represented Germany.
Although Affair released their debut "Face to Face" in 1997 - it had actually been finished for 5 years! Guitarist and founding member Bobby Altvater has had the right to the band name Affair since 1987, but as it seems finally to go in the right direction the lead singer had to quit after having supported acts like Gotthard, FM and Mothers Finest on tours in 1992. It took up until 1995 for Altvater to find a suiting replacement a guy called Peter De Wint from Antwerpen Belgium - who used to sing in Ostrogoth and Mystery.
Both Altvater and De Wint is well known in a studio matter, too. Altvater owns his own recording facility - Sky Studio in Munich, where he has been recording for bands like Frontline, Sabu, Railway, Bonfire, Russ Ballard, Joe Lynn Turner and Kip Winger. Peter De Wint has been sound-tech and producer for Terra Nova, Vengeance and Harem Scarem. The bands line up is completed by Thomas Strech on keyboards who played with Sieges Even, Uwe Köhler on bass who played with Bonfire and Michi Schwager on drums - and it all seems to be very well played - and produced. The album "No subsitute" is very powerful produced, with a flair for the good melody and always a good ear for the lead guitar and lead vocals - but without loosing the grip on the rhythm section.
There are a lot of German orientated melodic rock here and the album starts out with the very powerful title track and the first 7 tracks is relally loaded! First around track # 8 "Keep me alive" there seems to be a slight change in tempo and expression - but NOT a ballad at all! The balladesque mood first shows up on "Fire still burning".
So if you are looking for an album to keep you entertained on a long drive in your car "No Substitute" is definitely an album to look for - but be careful with your right foot, because as the say in "Back in the Race": "...Put your pedal to the metal. And be as fast as you can be. Excelleration for your Nation. Your tail is all they will see, YEAH"
And that is close to the truth.

Biloxi / Right the Music / MTM Music 0681-63


Biloxi - finally a new album! Tracklisting:Out on the Streets; Listen; Lay; Ocean; Far from Home; Have you ever seen the Rain; Someone; Do ya?; Vampire; Diggin up Bones; Starting over.

I remember the debut from American glam/melodic rockers Biloxi very well - because they were brought to Europe by Danish AOR/glam/melodic rock Maecenas Ken Anthony, who saw Clyde Holly and the rest of the band on several clubs in the Los Angeles glam scene back then and got the now closed label X-Treme Records to sign them. Nowadays, Clyde Holly is only founding member left in the band.
With the untimely death of the original guitarist L.A band Biloxi disbanded. Clyde Holly opened HollyHouse Recording Studio, producing bands from the local/regional area and came across drummer Rob Cronkoski and his band Slump. Years later Clyde and Rob found themselves working together in Rebecca Allen Band - which along the road became Biloxi #2.
The band has stayed true to their roots from "Let the Games begin" - Clyde Hollys characteristic voice is as strong as ever. On "Right the Music" he is joined by Stefan Prescott on keyboard - and according to the press material his personal favorite is Jordan Rudess and former Crowbar guitarist Kevin Noonan shows very melodic flair on this record - he can really handle a solo - building it up from slow to blitz quick scale masturbation! Extraordinary!!
The album is based on encompassing thick harmonies, hook laden guitar riffs and a very powerful drum style from Rob Gronkoski. The first two tracks lead me on the right tracks they are obvious contendes to their first album - a slow, moody (kinda bluesy) track like "Ocean" is one of my favorites because of the bit odd mood, tempo and guitar style - notice also the Pan.flute (on keyboard) in the end. But also a track like "Someone" with the big big back ground vocals in the chorus is superb. The album is full of memorable tracks but in the end I have to mention a coversong. On their first album they covered the old Mountain track "Mississippi Queen" - and this time around the are giving a powerful edition of Fogerty's "Have you ever seen the Rain" - and dispite the fact that every hopefully guitar player has been playing this song from day 1 in musical school Biloxi really manages to put a new expression to the song - great!
Biloxi - or should I say Clyde Holly - is back and the band new album is great! It has been worth the wait. and rumours are that the band is already working on a third CD, possibly carrying the band into a more technical and heavier approach - looking forward to that!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2002