We all know Joe Lynn Turner don't we, probably more for his days in Rainbow, where no doubt most were introduced to the man then. Others will remember him better for either his collaboration with Yngwie Malmsteen on the 'Odyssey' album, or just his own solo career.
There's no doubt he's been more or less prolific in whatever he's done, but now is the time to dedicate himself to himself again. enter the third Sunstorm album of sons where he's been either backing singer for, or they have been written especially for him, to be released by Frontiers Records.
Backed by a cracking four-piece band, this is melodic hard rock at it's very best, from the racy opener 'Never Give Up', through to the final tear-jerker 'All I Am', where Turner sounds like a man on the edge. Surrounded by what could be said as the typical ballad musical accompaniment of soaring harmonies, guitar solo's and floating keyboards, this and the even more haunting 'Lay Down Your Arms', give the album its emotional edge.
It's not all slow n' moody though, no, the hip-swaying numbers rule here, 'You wouldn't Know Love' leading the way with a pulsating bass-line that vibrates the room it's played in. when 'Wish You Were Here' kicks in, check the plasterwork on your walls!
Dennis Ward again takes centre stage here, though Chris Schmidt does his very best to drum his way in contention for main man behind the vocals. It's guitarist Uwe Reitenaver's turn for a piece of the action next, as his riffs drive their way through 'Torn In Half', his solo finger burning in its execution. while this is all going on. Turner doesn't sway an inch from the job he has to do, and he doesn't disappoint.
His voice is as good as its always been, and on 'Gina', he proves that even though Michael Bolton is better known for the track, this is how it should really be done!
Maybes being the backing singer has its pluses when it comes to really hearing a song, as on Bolton's son 'Emotional Fire' (written for Cher), Turner again does the track proud, hitting the notes perfectly. Both should tip their hat in his direction for a job well done.
The band stray into Pink Cream 69 territory on 'The Higher You Rise', the mix of Justin Dakey's keyboards and the guitar very much in their style, all held together in a pounding tempo that doesn't let up for a second.
It's a case of "oh dear" with 'Emily' unfortunately for me. The intro is a tad too close to Lady Gaga keyboard mode, and even thought it doesn't last too long, it raises its ugly head during the chorus again, and you can't escape it. All the solos in the world by Reitenaver can't stop you knowing what's coming, and for me, it spoils the song just for that point.
Thankfully 'Follow Your Heart' reminds you why this album is so good. It's catchy rock rhythm is the staple diet of all die hard melodic rock fans, who should take this album to their hearts when they hear it.
It's just a put a small thing like THOSE keyboards on one certain song can actually spoil the moment when you're enjoying a fine album such as 'Emotional Fire'. Otherwise, Joe Lynn Turner and Co. have come up trumps with another top notch release via Sunstorm, though next time, please no more Gaga moments!!
by: Bob Baldwin
1. Never Give Up
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