Reviews September/01

Broke[N]Blue / Northern Light / BROCD 01


Broke[N]Blue from Sweden - mighty fine! Tracklisting:I will be there; Cry for you; Enuff; Touching me (tonight); Here she comes; Needed to believe; Heaven in my Hands; Back Again; Oriental Eyes; Heavenly Beauty; Heart 2 Heart; Northern Light.

Broke[N]Blue is the brainchild of guitarist and keyboard player Lars Abrahamsson who has written all music and lyrics on this debut full lengt album.
But what gives this album an extraordinary sound and appeal is the presence of 2 lead singers - a woman and a man. The woman Eva Eggesjö-Abrahamsson has a voice very close to Heart's Ann Wilson and Peter Gustavsson has a high hoarse voice a la Jimi Jamison. This gives the whole album a brilliant approach - if you can imagine a mix of Heart's "Brigade" and Roxette's "Joyride". But I must add that the album "Northern Light" has it's very own identity due to the fact that Lars Abrahamsson has a flair for writing a catchy melody with a significant Scandinavian heartbeat.
The album is full of memorable tracks but I will allow myself to mention some like the mighty opener "I will be there" fronted by Eva Eggesjö-Abrahamsson, the groovy "Enuff" and the Bryan Adams inpired "Touching me (tonight)" - but to me the absolutely highlight of the whole album is the duo "Heaven in my hands", a mighty powerful ballade that uses the strength of two vocalist a great guitar and a beautiful melody - a classic in the making!
The only "but..." i must add is the production and the album cover work, but those are minor complaints - but I can't help imagine what if a guy like Robert John Mutt Lange, Ritchie Zito or even danish Tommy Hansen had been in the producers seat....?
I will hope for Broke[N]Blue that Lars Abrahamsson will continue his brilliant work, because he is carrying the torch for a classic Scandinavian sound and music "tradition" I thought had died - but thanks to Broke[N]Blue I have regained hope for the AOR/Melodic Rock market in Sweden and hopefully Scandinavia in general!!

Wild Frontier / Thousand Miles Away/ Independent


German and Gaelic inspired Tracklisting:Middle of nowhere (intro); End of the Road; Breaking the Silence; End of Time; This Time; I'm falling; Thousand Miles away; Let the Sun; Song for the World; Too late, Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple); Somebody (Bryan Adams).

German melodic rockers Wild Frontier has their name from the album from 1987 by Gary Moore. And from the first note on the first cut "End of the Road" we are being moved to Irish/Gaelic country.
Later on I must say the style and genre is more typical German - but nevertheless it's interesting to hear a sound inspired from Gaelic to German and from time to time resempling the sound of British pomp rockers Ten!
Wild Frontier is a german foursome featuring the talents of founding member Jens Walkenhorst on vocals/guitar, Mario Erdmann on bass, Rüdiger Uhre on drums and Thomas Witt on guitar/vocals. The band had their album debut back in 1996 with the maxi CD called "I give you all my love" and and shortly after their first full length album called "One way to heaven".
On "Thousand Miles away" there are a lot of memorable tracks in the Gary Moore/Thin Lizzy/Ten kind of vein. Some of my favorites are the gaelic "End of the Road" with the back pipe sound played on guitar - very special, and in the same world is track #9 "Song for the World". Another highlight is the title track which is more like Fair Warning - but with a significant fingerprint from Walkenhorsts singing - sometimes a bit like Martie Peters from Push. But my personal favorite must be the semi-acustic "Let the sun" - a song that hails the positive sides to life! Very good endeed.
The last tracks on the album is a couple of covers from the bands favorite artists.
I must say that I had a very positive experience with german hard rockers Wild Frontier and I will recommed this record to all lovers of classic rock with a melodic approach - but with a very special trademark!

Virgo / Matos-Paeth / SPV 085-72352-P CD-E


Virgo - The partnership between Sascha Paeth and Andre Matos Tracklisting:To be; Crazy Me?; Take me Home; Baby Doll; No need to have an Answer; Discovery; Street to Babylon; River; Blowing away; I want you to know; Fiction.

Virgo is a new project/group formed by vocalist, pianist and songwriter Andre Matos and multi instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Sascha Paeth. In the Early 90's Matos formed the Brazilian metal act Angra. At that time Paeth was in charge of German hard rockers Heaven Gate, and mede himself famous as a producer for bands like Rhapsody, Kamelot and Angra.
Now these two well known people are ready to launch this new project that is based on a more pure and simple rock formula but "garnished with diverse influences varying from pop to soul, from Mediterranean elements to contemporary electronic loops", as Paeth explains in the following press material - and just listen to a track like "I want you to know".
On the album they have a very strong band feeling to it even though there is no doubt of the two leaders - they have Miro on keyboards, Robert Hunecke-Rizzo on drums and Olaf Rittmeier on the bass. All tracks recorded in the Vox Studios in Hamburg in a relaxed atmosphere - and supported by an 18 piece classic ensemble consisting 15 string musicians, 2 horns an oboe and a six piece soul choir.
The album has a great range - as well as Matos voice, he is clean, sharp and powerful on each and every track from the powerful, speedy rock songs like "Baby Doll" and "Blowing Away", grooving mid-tempo tracks like "Crazy me" or sensitive ballads like "River" which has one the most heartbreaking choir arrangement I have heard for a long time and the finishing track "Fiction". The opening epic track "To be" has a structure wich includes an intro featuring a Spanish guitar wich reminds me of Queens "Innuendo" and on the more hard rocking track "Blowing away" Paeth's guitar also has a sound (in the solo) close to Brian May's - but like Queen "Virgo are open to all sorts of influences", Paeth says.
All in all this debut from Virgo is a very exciting musical experience - the diversity troughout the album and not the least the CD featuring a video clip of a live edition of "Baby Doll" for your computer!!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2001