|Alien Dark Eyes||Frontiers Records|
I must confess to being a little disappointed with the return of Alien. I guess it all comes down to what you personally expect from this release.|
Their debut album was a little AOR gem and although they recorded after that without singer Jim Jidhed, they still managed to impress.
Then there is Jim's own solo album from a year or so back, which was another classic old school AOR record.
So the idea of the Alien powerbase of Borg and Jidhed reuniting certainly gave rise to some big expectations.
I was expecting and hoping for a return to that classic AOR sound.
Dark Eyes fulfills some expectations, but doesn't deliver an entire album of what I hoped for. This album features some fine AOR tracks, but at it's heart is a more straight ahead rock sound that has some 70's influences.
At times I find myself being annoyed by Jim's vocals, which is very peculiar indeed. And in the same way, some of Tony Borg's guitar riffs similarly grate my ears, when each riff should be melodic bliss.
The biggest problem for me is the album's switching between the two chosen styles. And for me, the album opens with two of the worst tracks. While both are tidy little songs with easily recognizable choruses and guitar riffs – both fail to win me over, with choruses that I just can't warm to and guitar riffs I just don't like.
Third time lucky with the first gem of the album. Oh Sarah is much friendlier on the ears and Jim's vocals finally sound rich and lush. Perhaps of note is the fact there is no major in your face riff during this song.
Fallen Angel is a little tougher and a little more urgent in its delivery. No major hands in the air hooks here, but a solid chorus and a well-placed change of attitude.
Sadly Lethal Weapon returns to the bland style of the opening two numbers and again leaves me cold.
Wild One changes the tempo and delivery again somewhat. It has some appeal for its uptempo boogie vibe, but doesn't have enough gas in the tank to really drive it home.
Don't Fight It sees a welcome return to the more urgent and passionate AOR that made Oh Sarah and Fallen Eagle winners.
Riding With The Wind highlights my frustration with this album. Just when things seem back on track with a classic AOR track, along comes another annoying song – it just doesn't gel with me and I find the guitar parts and the chorus hard to appreciate.
Are You Ready is a little better, but still not the band at their best. The chorus is average.
Alien finish their comeback album with their two best tracks. Fire and Sherylee both have outstanding choruses and are every bit the classic AOR that they are known for and what fans were craving for.
Sherylee in particular is a wonderful AOR song with true heart, a passionate lead vocal and outstanding chorus. Why where more tracks like this not possible?
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