|Jimi Jamison Crossroads Moment||Frontiers Records|
I have been looking forward to reviewing this album for months, so it is a little disappointing for me not to be able to get this done prior to the album's release.|
But here we are now
The upside of this review is that the folks out there that made it a priority to grab this album as soon as it was released will now have had the time to live with it for a while and hopefully will come to the same conclusion as I have that the album is a melodic rock masterpiece!
I heard the original demos to some songs on this record more than a year ago and have lived with other tracks for several months, which gives me the ability to know this record inside and out and I truly can't see how anyone could not think this was a wonderful record and one of the very best of 2008 and any year for that matter.
My admiration for both Jimi J and Jim Peterik is no secret, but at the same time both artists have over time delivered material I thought could have been improved upon.
Not so in this case I think the extended process of writing and recording this album has allowed the duo to nail the material.
Jimi Jamison's last vocal effort was on the Survivor release Reach. It was one of those releases that I felt could have been so much better and Jimi's own vocal performance was mixed. Perhaps it is down to the producer behind the project knowing just how to get the very best performance out of the singer, as Jimi sings better here than he has since the days of Too Hot To Sleep.
And in writing for his old partner, Jim Peterik has dug deep to deliver the best and most consistent set of songs since prime era Survivor and the debut Pride Of Lions release.
I believe the production and general sound quality on this album is also the very best since the 80s with a solid rhythm section driving the songs and a range of guitar and vocal overdubs really fattening out the sound and giving people something new to hear each time they listen.
The sound of the album is no great surprise it mixes Jimi Jamison's classic AOR voice with the Jim Peterik sound established since his days in Survivor.
The general style mixes classic Survivor with Pride Of Lions (after all, those musicians remain the core backing band here) and touches of Jimi solo material (Empires) and Jim's own pomp/theatrical leanings.
For me it is a very natural and organic sound and re-establishes Jimi as a solo force. It also in my mind, blows the last Survivor album out of the water and equally, is more impressive than the last couple of Pride Of Lions records.
In other words everyone delivers and delivers impressively.
Song highlights are many. I rate every track on this album depending on my mood there are no weak tracks at all. But as my mood varies I do have certain favorites at any given time once again the sign of a strong and consistent record.
To single out certain tracks and not mention others feels like I'm being disrespectful to those not mentioned, such is the quality of the record so I'll just mention them all!
Battersea the opening rocker proves Jimi can still deliver rock with a punch and guitarist Tommy Denander deliving that punch with some inspired riffing.
Can't Look Away a hard hitting song about the poor and society in general, featuring a gritty hard rock guitar riff. Catchy song, but more so after repeat listens.
Make Me A Believer pure 80s Survivor with a frantic pace and some great keyboard fills.
Crossroads Moment one of the songs of 2008 or any year for that matter. This is a timeless classic that is urgent, warm and consoling, uplifting and inspirational. I absolutely adore this song and it rates as one of the best JP songs I have heard.
Bittersweet pure 80s soul with a cameo from Mickey Thomas. Jimi's vocals are superb and the chorus another 2008 highlight.
Behind The Music the song that kicked it all into gear (along with Crossroads Moment). Classic Survivor here and another killer track.
Lost one of the great ballads of the year and one of Jimi's best vocal in a long time.
Love The World Away A soaring rock anthem at a cracking pace to really drive the album into higher gear.
She's Nothing To Me the choruses just keep getting bigger. This is a classic Pride Of Lions style rocker, just with Jimi sailing over the top.
As Is One of the very best ballads Jim has written and sang with perfect emotion by Jimi. What a monster chorus and a heartfelt message delivered with a ton of vocal passion.
Till The Morning Comes A driving mid-tempo melodic rocker with another strong chorus and another classic Survivor style track.
That's Why I Sing a mid-tempo feel good melodic rock anthem that for me is another highlight. A simple and joyous song.
Friends We've Never Met absolute brilliance! Singing about the bands fans and the audience at a live show, this track deserves to be the closing encore song. It just gets bigger and bigger and the blazing guitar work towards the end is stunning.
A perfect live song and a really energetic way to bring the album to an almost conclusion.
The honors of closing the album for real go to When Rock Was King, another quirky song that features several guest vocalists such as Dave Bickler, Mickey Thomas, Mike Reno, Joe Lynn Turner and Don Barnes. It is a novelty song that reflects on the glory days of rock n roll and is an enjoyable, less serious song.
Bonus tracks for various territories include the moody rock ballad Alive, which keeps the quality of the album's main material.
The Japanese bonus track is the more effective and haunting Streets Of Heaven, reflecting on those loved ones lost. A smooth and emotional vocal and a worthy track to add to the album.
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