Artist:  Star Gazer 
   Title:  Star Gazer
   Label:  Avenue Of Allies

The term 'old school' seems to be frequently used when a new hard / melodic rock band come to light, sometimes rightly do, sometimes not.  So with Star Gazer, the term is spot on with this album.

You're about to get your socks rocked off with some fine, nay exquisite guitar work by William Ernstsen that flows throughout each track, no more than on the likes of 'I Need You', the raw power letting up for a second.  You can see why the lad has been mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Zakk Wylde, Doug Aldrich and John Sykes.  He's up there with them on evidence shown here.

'Push Me' only confirms this, but special mention must not only go to the other musicians for their part, but more so to vocalist Tore Andre Helgemo, as he busts a gut to keep up with the pace and power behind him, his distinctive voice a match and more as each song comes and goes.

A more melodic route is taken on 'Brother Against Brother', where there's a fine atmospheric section chilling things down, though the song doesn't lost any of its appeal as it ends on a fine blast of raunchy axe-work again.

'This Is The Night' cools affairs down, where you could say influences of Whitesnake seep through.  Again Helgemo does his utmost to make you believe in the song, his voice movingly honest to his words, the music kept at the right level as not to spoil what is not only smooth, but polished to the core.

A short burst of instrumental magic in 'whirlwinds' leads you into yet another cracking rocker 'You Are The One', where bassist Morten 'Morty Black' Skaget has his moment with a canny solo just to show there's more to this band than a fast fingered extrovert on the six string.  As if to answer that Ernstsen comes up trumps yet again on 'Keep The Good Times' and 'Working On The end', both having moments of class on his solos that are more than enough to prove he's a damn good six stringer, no arguments.

Everything you want from a rock ballad you'll find in 'The Cage', acoustic guitar accompanied by a soft electric moment or two, gentle drumming by Steiner Krokstad and a bleeding heart on vocals, all melted together to pull on the emotions of the listener.  As long as you involve the words "Blue", "Sad" and "Dreams", you're on to a winner and Star Gazer win hands down.  Now, there are ways of telling someone you aint too keen on them in the way of song, yet no matter how much you dress it up with some proficient guitars, none have been as hard as 'Dancing On Your Grave', and I think the message got through by the amount of times the term is used.  I just hope they aren't going to be buried at sea!

Ending on the choppy natured 'window To The World', I think it's safe to say Star Gazer have fitted into the adage 'Old School' with ultimate ease due to this album, so no doubt the Old School brigade will more than likely embrace it and then wholeheartedly, and why not?

Review by: Bob

Tracklisting:

1. I Need You
2. Push Me
3. Brother Against Brother
4. This Is The Night
5. Whirlwinds
6. You Are The One
7. Keep The Good Times
8. Working On The End
9. The Cage
10. Dancing On Your Grave
11. Window To The World

                  

 

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