Gone Savage – ‘Past Life’ Album Review

Massive improvement since Gone Savage released their EP ‘Resurrection’ a couple of years back. ‘Past Life’ has a great set of songs with not a duffer or filler in sight

Review by Paul. Chesworth

Gone Savage have been diligently releasing quality songs for a number of years now. Two years ago GS sent me their EP ‘Resurrection’, and single ‘Bulletproof’ which was a whetter of an appetite for what was to come. And that ‘for what was to come’ is now actually here in 2022 with the release of ‘Past Life’.

They are down to a main 2 piece of Ian Salpekar (bass) and Will Glover (Vocals), and have added the likes of Sam Millar and Grant Mallison (Guitars, but not at the same time), with Don Genovese (backing vocals) but we are promised a full on band when live with 4 part harmonies. Thats good enough for me as I’m a sucker for harmonies.

They self describe themselves as ‘Rock with a modern melodic feel, together with a hard edge and tight under belly!’ Compared to ‘Resurrection’ (which had a different vocalist to Will) back in 2020, Gone Savage showed a marked improvement with ‘Bulletproof’ (included on ‘Past Life’), and have definitely upped their game even further with this new release. Gone Savage have bands like Leppard, and Dokken running through their music and veins like a stick of Blackpool rock.

So what do we get? ‘Regression’ is an intro with not a lot of substance, but it gives way for the very 80s sounding ‘Icon Of Today’ with Will sounding a little like Blood Red Saints Pete Godfrey. It makes for a very decent opener. It only gets better with the very aptly named ‘Irresistable’ which is built on the foundations of a cracking riff and chorus. (Stryper anyone?). ‘Life In Black And White’ has one of those ear-worm choruses that once heard, are immediately embedded in your skull. I mentioned earlier about the Def Leppard and Dokken influences and both are definitely in play for ‘Permanent State Of Change’, with vocals and delivery Lep-esque, and the riff coming from a ‘Dysfunctional’ era Dokken. ‘Bulletproof’ has a much heavier sound and it stands out from the rest of the album. I don’t mean in a better ‘stand out’ moment, its the heaviness that stands out. Bear in mind this song is a couple years older than the rest and possibly this was a sign of things to come, but everything before this on Past Life have been pared back a little for a more melodic approach. It (Bulletproof) still fits in though as bands need to show that are not all a bit ‘same-y’ or predictable, and this is proof positive with ‘Life Incendiary’. It offers up a slower paced sound and deliberate menacing tone and underlying riff that evokes George Lynch and Adam Jones. Its a definite highlight.

‘Louder Than The Sun’ sounds as if its a seamless transition from ‘Life Incendiary’, and it hammers home with Will doing his very best ’Stars In Their Eyes’ Joe Elliot moment with the phrasing and delivery. The harmonies are also in full force. Again, its quality stuff. ‘Love Caught Me Out’ sounds like a Night Ranger title if ever I hear one. Only this song is like ‘Night Of The Crime’ era Icon (Check ‘em out kids, Icon are fantastic). GS are on a roll now folks! ‘Redemption Song’ dials it back a little but it still packs a punch. The harmonies are in force and Salpekar’s bass pulls this song along for most of the way. ‘Powerless’ has all the hallmarks of a very early Leppard (Rock Brigade) and has a pulsating riff that drives the song from start to finish. ‘Touch Your God’ has a more atmospheric sound to it than the rest, and is the type of song that played live could easily become a lengthier, epic number.

The addition of Will Glover has seen Gone Savage grown into a force to be reckoned with. I also have to give credit to Grant Mallison and Sam Millar as the guitars on this album take me back to my late teens when bands like Dokken, Ratt, QR etc ruled the World for me. The songs on ‘Past Life’ are better (much better), the vocals have more range and feeling than previously. The band have come on leaps and bounds since our paths crossed with ‘Resurrection’. ‘Past Life’ is a mix of ‘the great and the good’. There’s at least three great songs, probably more once I really have a few more listens under my belt, and the rest are good, with not a filler or duffer in sight. For that I have to give it very credible and enjoyable….

8/10

Tracklisting

Regression
Icon Of Today
Irresistable
Life In Black And White
Permanent State Of Change
Bulletproof
Life Incendiary
Louder Than The Sun
Love Caught Me Out
Redemption Song
Powerless
Touch Your God

Groundbreaker – ‘Soul To Soul’ Album review

If you liked the debut, you’ll absolutely love ‘Soul To Soul’. Quality AOR from Groundbreaker and Overland

Buy here – https://www.frontiers.shop/search?sSearch=groundbreaker

By Paul Chesworth

Unless you’re a fan of melodic rock/AOR, then you won’t be aware of one of the hardest working men in British rock music, one Steve Overland. Outside of FM, he has a CV that few can muster – The Ladder, Shadowman, Ozone, Lonerider, and his own project, simply called Overland. Not including all the albums he has guest appeared on, sings with The Staz Band, and has done shed loads of tribute songs, AND sang the theme to Galaxy Rangers! Phew. Known to his bandmates and supporters of FM as ‘the voice’ its a title that is very aptly bestowed, given we are in a world where platitudes are handed out like sweets.

‘Soul To Soul’ is a grand title for Overlands blues/soul vocal stylings. The debut included Robert Sall (Work Of Art) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (production). Sall has gone, joining this time on the songwriting side and is Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Pete Alpenborg (Arctic Rain), Jan Akesson (Infinite & Devine), and Kristian Fyhr (Seventh Crystal). The line up includes Sven Larsson (ex-Street Talk) on guitars, Nalley Pahlsson (Therion) on bass, Herman Furin (Work Of Art) on drums, and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards.

On to the stuff that matters. The music. The appetite was well and truly whetted back in August when the video for ‘Standing On The Edge Of A Broken Dream’ dropped. Its massive slice of pure and polished AOR. Its somewhat akin to FMs debut and the more recent efforts by bands like W.E.T, WOA, and Perfect Plan. An opener wouldn’t be an Overland special without the obligatory ‘whoa-ohs’™️. ‘Soul To Soul’ opens with a lovely parpy keyboard, and sees Overland hitting notes that I didn’t think possible from him. Its also worth mentioning Sven Larsson’s sterling guitar work. There’s a couple of obligatory ballads in ‘Captain Of Our Love’ and ‘Fighting For Our Love’ and because of Overland they are elevated and could appear corny had anyone else tackled them, such is the gravitas he brings to the table.

It’s on the polished, and punchy numbers that Groundbreaker truly shine. ‘Evermore’ picks up the tempo and has a good chorus. Its as close to FM as Groundbreaker gets. Overland himself gets to shine by playing lead guitar on Wild World. It borders into fm-radio territory and that’s not a bad thing to say by any means. ‘Carrie’ (not that one, or the other one) ups the ante, and Larsson wrings the neck off of his guitar. It’s a cracking little song. ‘It Don’t Get Better Than This’ has great harmonies and reminds me of The Storm. ‘Theres No Tomorrow’ keyboard sound is straight out of the iSPY book of Michael Bolton songs (that’s a reference few will get unless you’re over 50!). It’s a great song and my fave of the bunch. ‘When Lightning Strikes’ has a great melody and nice layered harmonies with now obligatory searing Larsson guitar solo. Its formulaic, but it’s one hell of a formula. ‘’Til The End Of Time’ is solid enough, but it’s on the final song ‘Leap Of Faith’ where it is a prime example of Overlands ‘cream on top of the milk’ analogy. It’s a fine song to end a mighty fine album.

If you love your pure AOR in bands like Signal, Bad English, Alias, LeRoux and Unruly Child, then look no further than ‘Soul To Soul’ It may not break into many peoples top 10s but it certainly will do on mine come December

Anything Michael Bolton can do, so can Overland, only sometimes a lot better but without Bolton’s bank balance. The man should be a household name. Well you are in our house son.

I liked the debut, but this one comes with knobs on!

9/10

Tracklisting –
Standing On The Edge Of A Broken Dream
Soul To Soul
Captain Of Our Love
Evermore
Wild World
Carrie
Fighting For Love
It Don’t Get Better Than This
There’s No Tomorrow
When Lightning Strikes
Til The End Of Time
Leap Of Faith

One Desire – ‘Midnight Empire’ Review

One Desire – Midnight Empire

I was first aware of One Desire a few years ago and was lucky enough to see them in The Cathouse in Glasgow supporting Eclipse. Word was they were decent and the first album imaginatively called One Desire was superb, I loved it and loved them playing live.

A couple of things struck me, they were called One Desire just as some band called One Direction were still making it big in the world. Luckily they were nothing like One Direction. The second thing was that lead singer André Linman could not only sing well but had hair that a shampoo advert would die for.

Their 30 minute set was superb, tight and I was left well impressed. Sadly I missed out when a few mates went to see them in Finland, I’d have loved to see these lads on home soil.

And so I was lucky enough to get a link to the new album Midnight Empire. Actually lucky doesn’t cover it, I was blessed!
Shadowman – starts with a haunting recorded intro with crackles from the record it’s taken from before the music kicks in and it kicks in with style. A thumping driving beat, the vocals clear and the backing vocals full of menace as it builds to a great chorus. It’s full of energy, keyboards and atmosphere, it sets a standard. “The Shadow in the window hiding”…..

After You’re Gone – what a tune, it’s catchier than a pandemic (too soon?), it just drags you along with a massive smile on your face. Simply WOW! One Desire for me was this track not to end (see what I did there……). It’s definitely nods towards Eclipse which can never be bad thing in my opinion, totally love it, no wonder it was released to highlight the album.

Down and Dirty – completes a hat trick of 3 catchy melodic tracks of real style. Rather than Down and Dirty it’s more “Upbeat and Clean”. It’s got another great chorus and layered backing vocals that just simply work.

The vocals of André Linman complement the solos of Jimmy Westerlund superbly. The talent of both for me matches if not exceeds the original CD. I say CD because I’m old and still love a CD mainly to blast out in the car.

Godsent Extasy – Even though the title sounds like a dodgy porn channel it’s another track that hits you with another full on melodic rock cracker, key changes and continues the feel of the preceding tracks nicely.

Through the Fire – acoustic guitar start, vocals exposed and wonderfully haunting. What a beautiful slow burner this is. It grows into a magnificent atmospheric track, One Desire certainly aren’t a one trick pony. This takes them to another level. There’s a touch of Rush, a bit of Eclipse and the guitar solo at the end could only sound more magnificent if backed by an orchestra and choir. Sublime.

Heroes – another gentle build up that bursts into life. It fits in with the previous songs seamlessly. Again the musicianship is top.

Rio – a cracking ballad, the piano intro sets the tone, the vocals of André lead into a slow builder, by slow I don’t mean bad, they just let the song build and let the guitar solo take over in a note perfect way until Andre’s vocals end it beautifully.

Battlefield of Love – the way OD use an acoustic guitar to lead into a full-on electric high tempo piece makes their sound well, well just their own. A clever use of keyboards (which are across a lot of the tracks) just adds to the feel.

Killer Queen – another superb full on piece of Scandinavian rock – it zips, it’s not Queen but it’s still a royal song. Sorry, I’ll get my coat.

Only When I Breathe – the rain fall backdrop leads to a classic finish to what is a bloody decent album. Again it starts showcasing the vocals of Andre on top of a gentle guitar. A superb ballad again and the vocals are stunningly good. “Now it only hurts when I breathe”.

If you love melodic rock and especially with the Scandinavian feel then you won’t be disappointed, it’s a belter and the best I’ve had the pleasure to hear this year. I’ve not mentioned Ossi Sivula on drums and Jonas Kuhlberg on bass guitar but they are just as important to the sound because they just do their bit, no frills but 100% behind the whole sound. Also the use of keyboards just works perfectly.

In conclusion Midnight Empire is a little gem, the band deserve a much bigger audience. They were superb live and I can’t wait to see these songs with a large appreciative audience. Totally loved it with so many earworms in the CD. The faster stuff is immense but for me “Through The Fire” just hits every button although my favourite will always be After You’re Gone, up there with the best of Eclipse, HEAT and Perfect Plan, it is simply that good.

I would say check the band out live on their European tour with The Night Flight Orchestra in March 2020 but that won’t happen, instead buy this, dream and wait until they play Scotland, I’ll see you there, I’ll be big idiot with a smile on my face. They won’t disappoint.

One Desire – take a bow lads. Magnificent.

9.5/10 Easy.

Tracklist:

  1. Shadowman
  2. Heroes
  3. Down And Dirty
  4. Godsent Extasy
  5. Through The Fire
  6. After You’ve Gone (Separate Ways)
  7. Killer Queen
  8. Was It Love?
  9. Battlefield Of Love
  10. Rio

Line-up:
Jimmy Westerlund – guitars
André Linman – lead vocals
Ossi Sivula – drums
Jonas Kuhlberg – bass guitar