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Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunstorm – Emotional Fire album review

Sunstorm – Emotional Fire album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release date: Available now

Sunstorm is one of Joe Lynn Turner’s (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen) many side band projects, but it’s obviously one that is close to his heart, as this is the third release from the project.

Here’s the thing though, in a recent interview I did with Joe – Which incidentally I felt very lucky and honoured to be able to do so … - Joe had explained to me that this latest set of songs, were in fact not chosen by him at all and were sent to him to sing on, backing tracks already done!
He had said he was in fact between two sets of live dates, trying to get a breather, when they landed in his lap.

Admittedly they do have a connection with Joe, as they are songs made up from Joe’s history of performing with other artists in one way or another.
i.e. Either songs he helped co-write or that he had previously sung backing vocals on generally.

Of course, me being someone not so close to how some of these projects come into being, to be honest totally surprised me as I think this is a great set of rock / AOR material.

Nice job on the fronts of both Joe and the musicians who provided the backing tracks. Great job guys!

The musicians involved here are on Drums Chris (Schmidtic) Schmidt, Bass, partial guitars and backing vocals provided by the albums producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), Guitars: Uwe Reitenauer, with Keyboards by Justin Dakey.

So, to the material itself then …

Opening number ‘Never Give Up,’ kick things off nicely as its punchy and melodic in the best possible way it could be and Joe Lynn Turner also sounds very much on form indeed.

Title track ‘Emotional Fire’ was written by Michael Bolton – Back in the day – for Cher’s ‘Heart of Stone’ album, that Joe sung backing vocals on and it’s a hugely hook laden number that could, should be a hit single.

‘Lay Down Your Arms’ is slower emotional style rocker, that has some moments that almost fringe on a symphonic metal sound. Almost Evanescence like at times.

The Michael Bolton hit single ‘Wouldn’t Know Love’ is covered next and fits nicely here, as in my mind, it was one of the last good things Michael Bolton did before he turned his back on rock. Joe and the band do it complete justice and you know, if this picked up some radio play it could generate a few more royalty payments all round for sure I would think.

‘Wish You Were Here’ is lovely AOR stuff, it really is. Fans of Joe Lynn Turner or of prime AOR will enjoy this for sure.

With ‘Torn In Half’ it starts with the heaviest guitar riff so far here, but the song retains plenty of melody and hooks to stay on track with everything else offered here.

‘Gina’ next is another Michael Bolton number that Joe sung backing vocals on before from Bolton’s album ‘The Hunger,’ one of his last good works. It has a catchy chorus, as a steady pop rocker overall.

There’s certain urgency in how ‘The Higher You Rise’ starts out, before easing back completely for the verse and then the pre-chorus bridge and chorus picks things up again. Another gem for sure!

‘Emily’ next is prime time slick AOR, from it’s opening stabbing synth chords, right through to the punchy catchy chorus lines.
Nice layering throughout.

With ‘Follow Your Heart’ Joe finds himself singing something that wouldn’t be out of place on a ‘Best of AOR’ type compilation anywhere, elements of say Survivor to this or UK band F.M. Excellent stuff indeed!

Final track is the perfect ballad in ‘All I Am,’ to wrap things up, kind of has a feel not unlike Starship about its structure.

I know it’s pretty much a covers set when you really think about it, but seriously, this is a truly enjoyable and class sounding album to me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5


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