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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Treat - Coup De Grace CD review (Frontiers Records)

Treat – Coup De Grace CD review

Imagine if you will, an artist who produces an album that conjures up, a mass of awesome sound that grabs from many fine influences of perhaps the best 80’s AOR style rock you could imagine. Oh and then adds their own, current unique edge and that’s where you’ll find this latest release from Treat lies, at least in my opinion anyway after repeated, enjoyable listens.

If you liked the best elements of say Europe (Yes, I know they're Swedish too!), Bon Jovi, Bonfire, Journey and even say Foreigner, I think you’ll really enjoy this release very much and I’m not going to say where those influences present themselves, you’ll find out when you play it!

Many artists / acts perhaps hate being compared to other acts, where others sometimes take it as a compliment and what Treat thinks who knows, although I’m sure they couldn’t deny that at least 2 or 3 of the aforementioned acts did influence them to some degree.

After an interesting intro piece ‘Prelude’ with various radio broadcast of outbreaks of war instances and similar the band then launch into ‘The War Is Over’ which put simply is HUGE! What a great sound, what massive hooks and how can you fail not to sing along with the chorus on first listen. Wow! I love it!

Then with ‘All In’ it kind of tricks you into an AC/DC like groove before then blowing you away with AOR at its absolute and biggest best! Big vocals, huge mix and so much more and this is just the second full track!

It simply doesn’t rest with its immenseness – That is a word, yes! – and ‘Paper Tiger’ next is possibly my favorite track here, because the chorus is just ..., well ‘so’ strong, but don’t despair if you’re thinking, what about guitars, keyboards, etc? It really is all here, very strong mix overall, power chords, as well as some nice ‘widdly, widdly’ guitar work, loads of melody and so, so much more.

If you don’t like melodic, hook laden hard rock music, then stop reading this now, because this album should provide all AOR fans with an album that just keeps on giving!

‘(Ready To) Roar’ just echoes again those same strengths as already mentioned for ‘Paper Tiger’ and ‘The War Is Over.’ Yes, it really is this consistent, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t somewhat clichéd throughout, but it is still just so strong and contagious and I can’t help but hear a similarity from vocalist Robert Ernlund voice to Joey Tempest’s for the most part, as well as a few others sometimes.

I won’t begin to say who I think he sounds like on ‘A Life to Die For,’ although musically it’s a ballad that probably any top AOR act wished they’d written. Class.

‘Tangled Up’ up next is a good strong melodic hard rock tune, with an almost Lou Gramm quality vocal here, although the big ‘Hey’s’ and ‘Woa’s’ could’ve been left out if you ask me, although still a strong track.

A mystical oriental type chanting starts ‘Skies of Mongolia’ before the rock kicks in and synth stabs throughout added to huge power chords and again a very strong lead vocal guides us through the track, oh and yes, huge choruses. Excellent! I know, if I'm repeating myself to you it's because this really is an album I can't get enough of.

Mid paced, chug along rocker ‘Heaven Can Wait’ is next and kind of reminds me a little in places of that classic AOR act Streets and it’s again very strong melodic rock with some edge.

It’s funny as in places the keys on this album bring to mind symphonic rock / metal and the start of ‘I’m Not Runnin’’ certainly has that effect to it. This track, if I had to name one has probably the weakest hook to it, but it’s still good.

Wow, I thought Night Ranger had jumped on my player for a minute with the intro to ‘No Way Without You,’ no bad thing but again, I guess to write something with so many strong hook lines, catchy choruses is bound to draw comparisons and I guess it gives potential buyers a guideline of what to expect. This track rocks out, sweet!

‘We Own the Night’ is a slower paced pop type rocker and again big choruses / multi-layered vocals are present in a big way here, it’s so smooth.

In ‘All for Love’ another mid paced melodic rocker and the edgier last track ‘Breathless,’ the band closes thing in a very class way, keeping the total consistency of the quality rock on offer here, to wrap things up.

This album has really impressed me - Could you tell?! - as I have not listened to or heard Treat since the late 80’s and while I recall they got my attention then, it was nowhere near how they have totally astounded me with this really classy album.

OK so it’s not original, it’s really not but as I’ve said before here, people – listeners - often thrive for and I hate to say this …, familiarity. So with the big choruses, chord structures and hook lines, that may for example sound like ‘you know who,’ I think the majority of melodic rock fans should lap this album up and not just because it sounds familiar, but because Treat play it with such class and passion that it deserves to be huge!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 for me.

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