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AOR Heaven / Point Music
Produced by: Peter Coleman

Released: OUT / Website
Relatives: White Lion, GOA, Dare

  1. This Time
  2. Saviour Of A Broken Heart
  3. Hard To Find A Reason
  4. If It Ain't Love
  5. Hands Of A Healer
  6. Hold On
  7. Best Of Me
  8. Who You Gonna Love
  9. Saintly Lies
  10. Comin' Round Again

This is an album of surprises. Firstly the band has come from virtual obscurity in the UK, recording this album in Liverpool late last year. The astounding thing is, that it was recorded in just 15 days. The production is first rate and the mix brilliant, as the songs are quite complex and multi-layered. The end result is an album of dark and moody AOR that of recent times have been hard to find.
Especially in quality as high as this.
Style wise the band has a couple of personalities and mix of a few classic band sounds in to make their own. Their tougher harder rocking style sounds very much like Guild Of Ages at their recent best, while the majority of the remaining mood filled AOR tracks sound like classic White Lion in their Pride era. Mmm....connection with the name there?!
The guys also compare in places to fellow UK rockers Dare, especially in the moody delivery of the songs, plus multi-layer song fields. The vocals of Matt Mitchell are quite diverse.
At times they bare familiarity to a mid-80's era Mike Tramp, other times they are like Guild Of Ages frontman Danny Martinez and at other times they are a blend of Dare's Darren Wharton and Ten's Gary Hughes!
This Time opens the album with a tough guitar driven track, very much in the vein of Colorado rockers Guild Of Ages. The comparison continues on a couple of other tracks later in the album.
But the main musical comparison and dominant album sound comes through on the second track, Saviour Of A Broken Heart. This is a big track - a big anthem rocker with the vocals of Matt Mitchell taking a raspier edge, suiting the style of the track.
Hard To Find A Reason continues in this style, big moody rocker with several layers of guitars and keyboards.
If It Ain't Love is the first big ballad of the record. Starting as a moody acoustic verse, the song develops as it goes on, but there are actually better ballads on the album.
Hands Of A Healer is one of those better tracks. Even though the pace of the song is very much uptempo, the track really is a ballad in feel. Especially given the raspy While Lion style heartfelt vocals. The chorus contains a great hook, but takes a few listens to get to know.
Hold On starts slowly, again, with haunting instrumental accompaniment until the song literally bursts into life, in big upbeat fashion. This is While Lion circa 1986 without doubt! The bridge and then the chorus get heavier and actually slower and mixes a little Guild Of Ages in for good measure. It's quite a combination!
Best Of Me is one of the album's standout tracks. This will rate highly in end of year polls, especially mine! The track is a great little anthem ballad with a killer hook that is memorable from the first listen.
Who You Gonna Love picks up the pace a little more, but remains planted in ballad with another big heartfelt anthem chorus in typical Dare style.
Saintly Lies starts slow, but ends up being a little heavier than some other tracks, even with the slower pace.
Comin' Round Again ends the album on an uptempo hard rocking note that sees the style return to the sound of the opening track, a la Guild Of Ages.
There are several comparisons to White Lion within the review, but it's more musically than it is vocally. These guys really do mix up a bunch of different bands into their own mix.
BOTTOM LINE: There has been lot sof great hard rock releases about, but for those hanging out for a really good moody rock album, this is it. In the fine tradition of Dare and early White Lion, Pride have really created and album chock full of songs of high passion and anguish, played out to some fine melodies and great hooks. Any label would be proud to have this in their catalogue. Well done AOR Heaven!
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of moody classic style melodic rock and ballad friendly hard rock records.

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