Reviews November/07

The Lec Zorn Project / It began in the Underground / Selffinanced


Lec Zorn - With a lot of good friends! Tracklisting:Lecoverture; Long Time coming; Second Chance; Play the Game tonight; Eternal Flame; Fighting Chance; You keep me in the Dark; Starting all over again; The Rush of Passion's Fire; Perseverance; Going the Distance; Second Chance (alternate take).

I have always had a softspot for the fearless artists like Lec Zorn - and with him a lot of melodic musicians writing and releasing their work no matter what. You can't hold back the talent seems to be the code...;-) The album "It Started In The Underground" is exactly this kind of tour de force in melodic underground music - great.
Lec Zorn has produced, written all tracks - execpt "Play the Game tonight" by Kansas and and plays the bass guitar and synths. A one mans project - but a lot of talented heroes participating: Tracy White from Shotgun Symphony handling vocals on 6 tracks, with two fabulous Swedes Pierre Wensberg and Lars Säfsund supporting on 3 tracks and Phil Vincent closing the vocalist departement. Most guitar parts are magnificent swinged by Mike Walsh known from his Departure days. Drums are mostly handled by Dakotas Eli Hludzik and the beautiful extra guitars are supplied by Tommy Denander (!!!) and Michael Riesenbeck, keyboards by Eric Ragno. Get the picture?
There are a lot of the classic vertues of melodic rock here - i.e. the sound of kansas, Styx, Survivor, Radioactive taking the best of melodic and symphonic rock in from the mighty 80's and bring it back to life in a '07 edition. I don't have any special favorites here - the album is filled with extraordinary songs and compositions. All delivered with great musicianship and a fine production bringing in mind the self financed conditions. But if i had to make a compilation of the tracks i definitely would bring "Second Chance" with its (SWedish) melodic chorus in the game, but also the instrumental "Perseverance", the "Eye of the Tiger"-inspired "Fighting Chance", the rocking "Starting all over again" and, and, and....
Lec Zorn has made an exellent album here - and i'm proud to have listened to him from the beginning. I'm sure that the man will be a driving force (he already is) in the melodic rock world in the future. Support one the best self financed project that I have put my ear to and buy this album. Listen to samples here.

The Codex / The Codex feat. Mark Boals / FR PR CD 353


The Codex - A new supergroup! Tracklisting:Beyond the Dark; Raise your Hands; Toxic Kiss; Bring down the Moon; Running out of Hate; Dream Makers; Whole again; Mistress of Death; Mystery; Prisoner; You can have it all; Garden of Grief.

The Codex is the brainchild of two great musicians: Vocalist par excellance Mark Boals (from Malmsteen and Ring of Fire fame) and Swedish fretboard maestro Magnus Karlsson (Starbreaker and Allen/Lande). Joined on the album by fellow Swedes Linus Abrahamsson on bass and drummer Daniel Flores (Minds Eye, Novak and Xsavior).
The album is truly a heavy and pounding album - i.e. the fast and riff based "Toxic Kiss" with the great riffing by Karlsson and fast drums by Flores topped by the powerful vocals by Boals. The progressive/heavy metal has got a new super group and the stream of inspiring and out-of-this-world guitars is endless: "Running out of Hate", "Raise your Hands" "Dream Makers" my favorite "Mistress of Death" with its big organ intro and thunderous drumming is breathtaking. The guitarwork is as screaming as Zakk Wylde's...
All in all a very great album for the lovers of heavy (but melodic) metal - with a significant sound and a big production to add to the extraordinary musicianship of the quartet. Great.

Airtime / Airtime / ESM 162


Airtime - Rik Emmett and Michael Shotton! Tracklisting:Edge of your Mind; Midnight Black & Blue; Liberty; Headstream; River runs deep; Find your Way; Addicted; Code 9; Rise; Moving Day; Transmutation; Cryin' Shame (bonus track).

Airtime is the new project of two of Canadas best musicians. Guitar God/vocalist Rik Emmett from Triumph and drummer/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer Michael Shotton from the underrated band Von groove. The project Airtime is a giant step "back" to the arena rock roots from both musicians. The album is recorded with only those two people - but it is the thought that the project will be a prober band with the addition of sidemen Dave Dunlop on guitar and Steve Skingley on bass.
The album "Liberty manifesto" starts out with the great "Edge of your Mind" and it instantly brings your mind towards classic bands like Queen, Rush, Journey and surprise ...Triumph. The allround feeling of the album is that the two characters had a good time and a good laugh during the recording. The high pitched vocals of Emmett is dead on and the fret work from teh master himself is as always of a world of its own. I must mention my favorite "River runs deep" - I haven't heard anything like since the "Surveillance" album back in the late 80's. But also the melodic "Find your Way" and the hard pounding "Addicted" tracks are breathtaking - the braethtaking part being the significant presence of distorted guitars alongside classic 6 strings and the big big background choirs.
I think that both artist will profit big time by this alliance - Emmett has re-discovered his rock roots and Shotton has come out of his cocoon as a full blown producer bringing the best out of the musicians and making a magnificent "special" sound for himself. This is a great great album - a classic in spe.

© Steen Elstrup Pejtersen 1999-2007