a l b u m r e v i e w s


HARLAN CAGE / FORBIDDEN COLORS
LABEL: MTM MUSIC
OVERALL: 91%
Produced by: Harlan Cage
  1. No Sunday Bride
  2. Chinatown
  3. Thrill Of It All
  4. Can't Tame The Raven
  5. Hard Yellow Line
  6. Last Plane Out
  7. A Little Rain
  8. Feel The Wheel
  9. Making My Way Back To You
  10. Late Night Escapades
  11. Before The Night Is Gone
  12. Two Ships In The Night
  13. What A Fool I've Been
I can't believe these guys are up to album number 3 already!
From the unreleased demo's of the first album to the great melodic rock of the second album Double Medication Tuesday, these guys have taken another quantum leap and have recorded their best, most solid and heaviest record to date. These guys have really come out rocking on Forbidden Colors, but have not forgotten their AOR base either.
The first half of the album sticks close to the formula of the last album - powerful AOR songs, intelligent hooks and melodies - with a couple of exceptions.
These tunes are better than ever and the vocals and delivery of the songs exceed anything on the previous two albums.
Then things take a sideways turn and we get to hear some new influences over Harlan Cage. The music, while tougher then the last album - gets tougher still.
The vocals and music seem more passionate and urgent. There is a great vibe to this album. I think the best thing about it is every song has clearly defined choruses.
The verses are enjoyable, but then there is a lift to the choruses where the guys let loose a little more. It's great stuff.
No Sunday Bride kicks off Forbidden Colors, exactly where Double Medication Tuesday left off. Up tempo, strong vocals, keyboards and a hard edged guitar.
The song delivers everything we anticipated, with big hooks and a big moody chorus. As good as the best tunes of the last album.
The pace is briefly halted with Chinatown. This mid paced track is a moody, smoldering piece with a stronger chorus. The keyboards and atmospherics are very Foreigner.
Thrill Of It All is similar to Chinatown, in that it's anthem chorus rises up out of the mellower verse. In a cool development, the song gets rowdier as it goes along. It finishes in quite a blaze.
Can't Tame The Raven is a killer track. Again Harlan Cage apply the brakes with a mellow and moody verse. But that soon gives way to a rocking anthem chorus. The end of the song is pretty cool too.
Hard Yellow Line sees the guys turn the guitars up a little more than usual - a hint of what is to come. The song is really well paced, flying through the chorus. Great melodies.
Last Plane Out is another killer track. Hard, passionate and hook laden. Again soft to start, the chorus is a great anthem. A major AOR track.
A Little Rain is the first real ballad of the album. Moody (again!), swept by keyboards and harmony vocals. This also has a big Foreigner feel. Feel The Wheel is where the band go awol. This really surprised me - the intensity of the guitars and the riffs that would make Eddie Van Halen proud. A great power AOR rock track.
Making My Way Back To You is another big ballad. A pretty piano intro is joined by a short guitar break. The vocals are big time power ballad stuff, a soft intro that powers into a heartfelt verse. And there is still room for a guitar solo.
Late Night Escapades teams with Feel The Wheel in the intense guitar stakes.
The song is in your face and goes from uptempo to manic in the space of about 3 minutes! By the end of the song, the guitars are cutting loose in five directions and the band are threatening to turn into Metallica!
Before The Night Is Gone eases the pressure with a mid tempo ballad, this time more emphasis on soft guitars and keyboards.
Two Ships In The Night is THE track of the album. In fact - this is one of the great AOR tracks of the last several years. Yes it is that good!
A simple pop rocker, the song is lifted into the heavens by a blissful chorus - several octaves higher. An awesome passionate uptempo AOR ballad with some killer vocals.
What A Fool I've Been is the Japanese bonus track. It is still a great melodic rocker, more in the vein of the last album, but not an essential addition at the expense of a Japanese import. Wait and hope it's included on MTM Volume 4.
So in a nutshell this is the best album of the band's career and easily one of the best releases this year and one of the best albums MTM have released yet.
Essential.
PRODUCTION: 80%SONGS: 94%VIBE: 93%ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Just about all AOR fans. Power pop/AOR fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Harlan Cage . Double Medication Tuesday . Forbidden Colors

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