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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Talon - Fire in Your Soul CD review

Talon – Fire In Your Soul CD review (Metal Mayhem Music via MVD)

You know, this is an interesting release from Talon as it was put out late last year here in the US, but just recently found its way to my mailbox, even more interesting is according to the sleeve notes, all songs on here were written in 2002, what the heck??!
More so you’ll realize that the first 11 tracks on Talon’s first self titled album from 2003 are the same first 11 tracks here.

‘Fire in Your Soul’ actually has 8 bonus tracks that were not on that first release, but some of these have shown up on other rock compilations here and there, as well as 2 demo’s with original vocalist Craig Kazor on.
I also confess, I’ve really heard very little of Talon’s music before this even though I’ve heard good things here and there, through forums and other reviews I’ve read elsewhere over time.

So, this release, ‘Fire in Your Soul,’ was very appealing and the big bonus was there’s a Talon live DVD in this 2 disc set from their 2003 appearance at the UK’s ‘Gods’ festival and the trip over there from the USA. Fun stuff!

The band was founded around guitarist Kory VoxenVoxen in fact, was the bands original name. – and drummer and it seems driving force behind the band, John Parker.

So, what do I think of this release? Well what I can tell you is I’m now a fan of the band for sure!
I’d also say that I think there’s a huge European influence to this band, where I hear elements of say, Scorpions, UFO, Bonfire, Praying Mantis, Kraaft (Anyone remember them?!) and even some of the UK’s NWOBHM to the music, but it is not without melody. These guys know how to write good songs, with strong melodies, in a similar way to some of the aforementioned bands and its good strong melodic hard rock.

Opening with ‘Wrecking Ball,’ the band grab you instantly and the vocals of Michael O’Mara are impressive too.
Title track, ‘Fire in Your Soul,’ I just love as its heavy, driving and yet full of hooks, big vocals in the choruses too.

The acoustic intro to ‘Still You Run’ then leads into a nice lead break and slow start, before then the pace picks up and grows into a nice pre-chorus and strong chorus before easing back in the verse and then picks up again. Nice.
The phrasing in the chorus of ‘Calling You Tonight’ may throw some people, but it’s a clever twist and there’s a big AOR vibe to this track.

‘Talon in My Heart’ gave a vision of the movie, Rock Star’s ‘Steel Dragon’ with the opening guitar squeal, but again the song moves on and there’s almost a Michael Schenker style evident about some of the guitar playing here, who I’d hazard to guess lead guitarist Jim Kee may be influenced by a little amongst others.

Punchy commercial power chords drive ‘Falling Star’ and the chorus is big enough to back them up too before another impressive lead break.
‘Mother Mary May I,’ is an up tempo driven track, from the start and into big harmony driven vocal choruses.

Wow, a piano starts ‘Holding You Soon,’ for the first time on here, into a big power ballad. Soulful vocals from O’Mara with some haunting, moving lead guitar work following and then it soars a little before coming back down again. Nice work here.

‘All Is Not Forgiven’ I could imagine being massive with a major production job behind it, again the catchy power chords, great lead work and unforgettable chorus, of a wounded heart.

‘Livin’ For Your Love’ and ‘Rock and Roll Runaway’ still both good, although perhaps predictable songs according to the titles. Good strong choruses and yes, great lead guitar work.

So to the bonus tracks with ‘Paradise’ first which apparently was a Japanese bonus track before. Fits well with the other tracks, although perhaps not so strong hook wise.
‘Blood Red Rose’ is an unreleased track from the first album sessions and why it wasn’t track twelve on the bands first album or just included elsewhere beats me? Stronger than ‘Paradise’ I’d say.

Next is an ‘Alternative mix’ of ‘Wrecking Ball’ to be honest, some different guitar work, but … To me, if a song is not a complete re-write as say a rock song to a ballad or vice versa, it hardly seems worth it. Just my take …

‘Evil’ next actually makes me think of Dio in places and is another good track along with ‘Euphoria’ next, both good songs.

The two demo’s with the bands original vocalist Craig Kazor of ‘All is Not Forgiven’ and ‘Mother Mary May I,’ well sorry but I can see why Michael O’Mara was brought in, although I understand now, that he has gone. Shame …
Talon’s latest singer is Dave Friday, who I know even less about.

Final track here is a demo version of ‘Holding You Tonight,’ which is OK too.
The bonus DVD is a lot of fun and certainly makes the 2 CD set worth getting, to get yourself a serious insight into this band and a VFM (Value For Money) package.

This is a good release that I do like a lot, I’m not totally blown away, but I’m sure the band has a lot more to offer, perhaps with a better production and mix that will come.

Rating: 3 out of 5 for music / production. 4 / 5 for VFM package.

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