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Ramos Living In The Light Frontiers Records
FRCD154
Produced By: Kelly Hansen

Running Time: 62.27

Release Date: July 21

Released: EU

Musical Style: AOR & Melodic Rock

Links: Frontiers
90%
Songs: 92%
Sound: 88%
Guitarist Josh Ramos breaks out on his own and delivers his solo debut with the new band Ramos.
Fans of Josh will know him from hs work in The Storm and Two Fires and will instantly be familiar with his love of Journey-esque melodies and definite Neal Schon flare to his playing style.
Ramos continues on from his previous two bands with more feel good songs delivered in traditional AOR style, albeit with a little extra punch than we have heard previously from Josh.
This is as melodic as it comes, but being in control of his own direction has seen Josh expand the role of the guitar within the songs, making this a tasty prospect for those that like their AOR a little heavier.
Singer Mark Weitz is a definite discovery, performing with a smooth and wide range that matches that of Steve Perry and those others that are always being compared to the great vocalist.
But once again, not everything is super smooth some of Mark's vocals have an added ingredient that gives the music a grittier edge.
Adding further goodwill to this already positive review is the news that the production is very good indeed. Certainly above average compared to many other releases in this genre that suffer from small budgets.
The songwriting on Living In The Light first rate with plenty of memorable hooks, choruses and extra bridges to sink ones teeth into.
Living In The Light is the prefect opening track. It moves quickly from the extended intro into a big chorus and mirrors the vibe of the last Journey album Arrival. A strong Perry-like vocal and some tasty guitar parts makes this song a sure fire hit.
Don't Go offers an immediate change of pace, which works well in this case. This moody rock ballad features some fine piano courtesy of Russ Greene, which is joined by a solid guitar riff and another big chorus hook.
Winds Of Change sees the album return to the uptempo feel good vibe of the opening track. This 6-minute plus track really works and is possibly the album's best track, due to the strong vocal and the huge verse-bridge- chorus path. Perfect AOR.
Seize The Day continues the fast-paced ride set by the last track. Weitz has a strong Steve Augeri vibe about him on this track, which Journey fans should easily relate to.
The Dream Is Alive is the album's big power ballad. Fans of The Storm will adore this track, with another very strong melodic vocal and a soaring chorus. Lighters-in-the-air time.
Tell Me Why is another 6-minute plus track. I could live without the haunting spoken-word intro, but aside from that, the slow guitar solo shines, as does the song itself. This is one of the more gritty, harder edge tunes that I spoke of earlier. Lots of guitars, solid chorus and another album highlight.
Come Back To Me features some great keyboard work, which lays the song's foundation. It features a solid guitar riff, but the chorus on this one doesn't rate as highly with me. Night Has Fallen is another tougher, uptempo guitar drive track. The chorus is solid enough, but it's more a melodic rock guitar lovers track.
Love Is the Magic is a slow AOR ballad that offers a nice change of pace and offers another excuse to get the lighters out.
Take It Or Leave It rocks. That's it simple! This track features a great fast vocal over a frantic beat and is one of the more uptempo numbers Josh has been involved in. Another album highlight.
You're So Far Away is much as the title suggests a mid-tempo ballad. Without being instantly memorable, it's a solid track.
Closing the album is the instrumental track Willie. Again clocking in over 6 minutes, the song features Josh at his best, talking his time to deliver a tasteful slow passionate Schon-like solo. An enjoyable track more so for fans of solo guitar.
The Bottom Line
Great stuff! Overall, a very solid album that features great performances by all involved and due to a quality production job and some very fine songs. This album should please everyone into traditional AOR, uptempo Journey-esque melodic rock and those more at home with the old-school style of melodic music.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
The Storm (The Storm & Eye Of The Storm)
Two Fires - Two Fires
Two Fires - Ignition
Ramos - Living In The Light

Line Up
Mark Weitz: Vocals
Josh Ramos: Guitar
Atma Anur: Drums
Scott Snyder, Stuart Hamm (2 tracks): Bass
Russ Greene, Michael T Ross: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
The Storm - Eye Of The Storm
Two Fires - Two Fires
Journey - Arrival
Track Listing
Living In The Light*
Don't Go*
Winds Of Change*
Seize The Day
The Dream Is Alive
Tell Me Why*
Come Back To Me
Night Has Fallen
Love Is the Magic
Take It Or Leave It*
You're So Far Away
Willie (Instrumental)
--*Best Tracks


01/08/04: Ian - Watsoni10@aol.com
Rating: 90
Good songs,melodys and hooks.Josh plays like we know he can,but in my opinion Mark and his vocals make the album.

28/08/03: dan colwell - dckc2793@aol.com
Rating: 85
this is a good record
The only problem is it's a little dated in sound!But it still rocks.

26/08/03: John Ferguson - jonferg@nortelnetworks.com
Rating: 88

Guitar hero Josh Ramos has been keeping himself busy lately. Firstly, there were the Two Fires albums with his old partner from The Storm, the legendary Kevin Chalfant and then, in 2002, Josh provided his classy six-string dynamics to the return of Hardline. Now in 2003 with “Living In The Light”, he strikes out on the solo path with his own band Ramos, a classic AOR combo featuring former Eyes singer Mark Weitz, who carries off the vocal duties with the style and delivery the songs demand. With production handles by Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen, the sound of the album sits somewhere between the smooth AOR of Journey/Two Fires and the more punchy melodic rock of Hansen’s own work.
Fans of Journey will love opener, “Living In The Light, an epic feeling mid-paced track with strong Perry-tinged vocals and soaring guitar melodies from Ramos.
Next up is the classic ballad, “Don't Go,” a moody slice of Bad English flavored ear candy and you could be fooled into thinking this is going to bean album of ballads. However, the upbeat rip-roaring AOR of "Winds Of Change" and "Seize The Day" take the album to a new level and both benefit from superb writing and arrangements. The highly memorable ballad, "The Dream Is Alive" was previewed on Frontiers Records' "Rock The Bones" compilation at the end of 2002 and is as classy a track as you could wish to hear. Album highlight, the six minute "Tell Me Why", opens up with a dramatic spoken intro and stunning Ramos solo before exploding into a hard edged, rousing slice of upbeat Journey/Ten style AOR. Memories of Journey crowd pleasers such as "Ask The Lonely" and "Separate Ways," come to mind with the full on "Take It Or Leave It," a track which allows Josh Ramos a license to thrill, with his shredding solos and licks. Moody ballad, "You're So Far Away, " is more reminiscent of the second Two Fires album, "Ignition," and takes the tempo back down to the album closer, the instrumental "Willie," a Neal Schon style, late night guitar solo.
"Living In The Light" is AOR in it's most recognizable form and fans of Journey/ The Storm/Two Fires and Hurricane will treasure it for years to come.

22/08/03: Andy Hawes - andy.sixstring@ntlworld.com
Rating: 89
If you like Journey or Jeff Scott Soto, then buy this at all costs cos it's got all the Neal Schon style solos and Perry/Soto style vocals you could ever want. Thing is, they're also wrapped around some cool Journeyesque AOR songs. In fact, only the rather derivative sound stops me from marking it a wee bit higher. Certainly way better than Two Fires, not quite as good as the Storm in my opinion. However, certainly an album that I play regularly while surfing the net or just chilling out after a long day at work. Recommended! (I bet they'd KILL live, judging by Josh's performance with Hardline at the Gods 2002!! Ramos for the Gods 2004...Are you listening, Mark Ashton??)

22/08/03: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 85
Finally a great record this year ! AOR the way it should be played ! Great songs, great singing and KEYBOARDS !!!!! Something all these 'great' (joke of course !) don't know at all ! Forget these nu-breed acts and go for the real thing. Ramos is for you, AOR fan !!!

13/08/03: Joey - klambert9@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
Great melodic rock album (one of the few released in the 2000's). Great mix of rockers (seize the day, take it or leave it)and mid-tempo songs (don't go, come back to me, night has fallen). All its missing is the killer monster ballad, The Dream Is Alive is OK but not a monster ballad. Hope this lineup stays together for many years as it will be an automatic buy for me going forward. This a rare gem in today's music scene and I think is stands apart more than the review included on this site indicates which lumps many albums into the 90+ category, probably because that reviewer has a more diverse ear than me. But for the 80's melodic rocker-this is an album for you!!!!

31/07/03: Stefan - grimbsel@aol.com
Rating: 95
This is a great melodicrock cd. superb songs with a great singer. josh is a devil on guitar. i like it very much. if you like the storm / first of the two fires cd/ and of course Journey then this cd is a must.

i hope josh will come to germany in 2003/2004.


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