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


MTM Music 0681-15
Produced by: Tattoo Shea

Released: JUNE 5 / Website
Closest Relative: TNT, Journey

  1. Rainmaker
  2. I Am
  3. Every Time
  4. Without You
  5. 2 Am
  6. Miracles
  7. Lost Angels
  8. What I'd Rather
  9. Inside Out
  10. I Believe
  11. Never Alone
  12. Blinded (Japan Only)

Raine have provided another fantastic high quality release, filled with the best that AOR and melodic rock can offer. I love this record and rate it highly. They are however, not your average straight down the line AOR act, so some comparisons must be made to fully point out where their sound lies.
Vocalist David Lindland has a high register in his voice and is a remarkably strong vocalist. I compare him very favorably with Tony Harnell of TNT and Westworld.
There are also some progressive touches to the band's sound in places. When I say progressive, I mean more complex than your average song and time/chord changes, plus a heavy keyboard presence. And that is not defining progressive in the terms of what every one immediately pigeon holes as typical of that sound these days - someone like Dream Theater, but more in the way that Styx used to subtly use cleaver song writing to add dimensions to the music.
There is some cleaver songwriting in play on Peace, tracks where the vocals are layered in unexpected places, where the drumming (from Ben Powell) suddenly doubles speed during a bridge to a chorus and great guitar breaks in a place not normally expected.
What I do love and I think adds a major dimension to the album is the use of multi-layer effects during the album. The vocals are just incredible. Not only the lead, but this album's use of backing and harmony vocals is brilliant.
The album is quite musically diverse also. There's the progressive touches to the rockers, the stripped back ballads and a few ripping AOR anthems for us die-hards.
Track By Track:
Rainmaker - A big lead in of equal guitar and keyboard dominance. A Queensryche feel to the song, it takes a few listens then digs it's claws in deep. A short, but big chorus.
I Am - comes from nowhere and totally blows you way. Multi-layer acappela vocal intro to a lead guitar riff that only hints at what is to come. A moody mid tempo verse featuring a restrained almost whispered vocal and then bang! The chorus is just f***ing great. Totally over the top, multi layered, harmony filled with vocals going in several different directions. I speak passionately about this song because I firmly believe in it and regard this as one of the most original and enjoyable songs in a long time. It will be a tough battle for song of the year in 6 months time.
Every Time - Again an original sound with an orchestral intro and recurring percussion effects and electric Violin and harmonica backing. A song not out of place on the last TNT album. A mid tempo ballad with heartfelt vocal and an excellent example of intelligent songwriting.
Without You - is a heavier more aggressive guitar driven song that features a lot of guitar and a powerful lead vocal. A more 80's feel to the song.
2 Am - a raw sentimental live vocal intro, with the band only momentarily kept at bay until they break into a mid tempo ballady chorus. A 'hollow' sound to the vocal and all round original feel to the song. A good ballad.
Miracles - features a grand piano intro, another example of the varied song styles and musical influences over this album. The soft into moves into a full-blown band effort for the chorus and last half of the song. A huge soaring power ballad with monster vocals. Again, not out of place on the Westworld or a classic TNT album.
Lost Angels - Pure hard driving uptempo AOR. Originally recorded but never released by Steve Perry, not many will have his version to compare this to. But let me say this, David has done a great job vocally and may have even bettered the original. The song has all the hallmark traits of an AOR classic, especially the amazing lead and harmony vocals and post-chorus bridge mid song.
What I'd Rather - keep the good times coming. A feel good uptempo melodic rocker with funky bass, more great vocals and a totally over the top Def Leppard meets TNT chorus.
Inside Out - another heavy progressive flavored song like the opening number.
I Believe - Another killer song. A power ballad that sees a sparse vocal/acoustic guitar intro adding piano and drums and a higher vocal that leads to a chorus that has anthem written all over it. More massive vocals!
Never Alone - finishes off the album with a bang and one of the best tracks of the album. This is unbelievable. Another major uptempo anthem AOR number with a monster chorus and killer harmony vocals all over it.
Blinded (Japan Only) - Maybe I will be able to offer this track as a download here later on, because this should have made the album too! Another big anthem filled AOR rocker. Might have been dropped off as it does sound similar to Never Alone, but who cares?!!
BOTTOM LINE: In my mind, this is another classic slice of modern melodic rock. It may not quite have as wide an appeal as House Of Shakira, Steelhosue Land and Danger Danger, but won't be far behind. Being a debut album it's always hard to pick up that previously installed audience, but believe me, once this album is out here in wide circulation, these guys are going to gather a lot of fans and their second album will be highly anticipated.
The band's mix of cleaver songwriting, smart production and musical variety will see lovers of Tony Harnell's work and adopt this quickly, with others following as word spreads.
You will need an open ear and mind, plus an appreciation for high register vocals to fully appreciate how good this album is.
ESSENTIAL FOR: TNT, Westworld and Tony Harnell fans, fans of intelligent and varied anthem filled AOR.
DISCOGRAPHY:Formed from members of Montana Screams & Rainmaker

b a c k t o i n d e x