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Slamer Nowhere Land Frontiers Records
FRCD276
· Produced By: Mike Slamer

· Running Time: 62.12

· Release Date: September 22

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers
97%
Songs: 94%
Sound: 100%
Mike Slamer only releases a new album every couple of years for a good reason. They are all total quality releases. In fact, they are all perfect! The man is a perfectionist and a production genius.
Mike's best accomplishment in the melodic rock world to date has been the two Steelhouse Lane records, more precisely the second one Slaves Of The New World.
That was an incredible melodic rock record that I always wish I gave a perfect 100 to, as it continued to grow on me past the review time and is still has not lost any of its brilliance…and remains a record I recommend to all to buy without hesitation.
So many fans have been looking forward to a new Steelhouse Lane record. While that is unlikely to ever happen, Mike has still kept making records with two studio and one live album with Billy Greer's Seventh Key project.
Seventh Key was a slightly different beast to Steelhouse Lane – same Slamer trademarks and same perfect production style, just a little different manly due to Billy's own personal influences over the record.
Looking to get back to making records for himself, Mike Slamer teamed with Strangerways/The Sign vocalist Terry Brock to form Slamer. This band is different beast again, albeit one with definite similarities to his recent work.
In fact, I would describe the Slamer debut Nowhere Land as a direct cross between Steelhouse Lane and Seventh Key. There are influences from both present.
Brock certainly makes his mark here, but also present is Billy Greer, who contributes some very prominent harmony vocals. Incidentally, Brock helped out with harmony vocals on the last Seventh Key album, so you can see the crossover style here.
The album is more proficient as far as progressive elements and has more technical nuances than Seventh Key. Over however, I think this is a far mellower album than I expected, or perhaps than it could have been. That really isn't a bad thing; it merely means one must perhaps be a little more selective as to when to play it. It is more a mood record than the 'play anytime' Steelhouse Lane records.
One thing is for certain. This album features some the very finest guitar playing and finest AOR solos that I have ever heard. Mike Slamer's control of his instrument is unparalleled as far as I am concerned. Every track features a new reason to be amazed – be it a technical shred, progressive lick or slow, controlled emotional solo. Amazing just does not cover it.
Not one note or syllable is out of place here, which is a testament to his technical genius. The record is ultra smooth and produced to perfection. There are a couple of small issues that prevent this album from reaching a perfect score.
The biggest surprise for me is perhaps the vocals of Terry Brock. His voice is awesome – on this album he sounds smoother than ever. He sounds a million bucks here. I must add however, that in some way, his rough, raw and raspy edge has been polished over somewhat. There is part of me that misses that edge.
And that same notion applies for the whole album. It is simply so tightly produced and is so slick in the delivery that I can't help but feel the edge of Steelhouse Lane is missing.
The other thing I found is that the momentum of the album is not helped by the track sequencing – rocker / slower / rocker / ballad etc. A revised order where the tempo did not alternate might have offered a better slightly better flow. Minor points for what is really a technically perfect slice of melodic rock.
Track By Track:
As is morally and contractually required – all Slamer albums must feature a classic 'big intro' - one that builds the tension before the opening song bursts to life. This album is no different. The intro to Nowhere Land features some mighty guitar riffs and a slight progressive touch. Once underway Nowhere Land lets the listeners know that Slamer is going to be packed with - well...everything you expected!
Nowhere Land bobs and weaves its way through 6 minutes of harmonious vocals and changing landscapes, mainly painted by some serious guitar theatrics and a pounding rhythm section.
The tempo is immediately pulled back to allow a slow guitar solo to set up Strength To Carry On. This is an amazing track that couldn't be more packed with melodies. The tempo may be slow, but the hooks are glorious. The soaring chorus is the most obvious reference point, but there is so much to listen to throughout the track, including a mid-song bridge, intricate guitar parts and subtle melodies that become known after repeated plays.
It's back to high octane levels with the rocker Not In Love. A 90 second passage of progressive guitar plays kicks the song off before falling back into a more familiar groove. The verse swaggers along, and then the killer chorus – backed with harmonies galore – bursts through the comfort zone. This is another 6 minute track, so there are a few diversions along the way. Certainly not your average formulaic melodic rock!
The 8 minute ballad Come To Me is something out of the ordinary once again. I'm not big on the tempo going back and forth between fast and slow on alternative tracks, but this stuff is just so good. It's nearly 2 and a half minutes into the song before we hear the voice of Terry Brock, with the atmosphere and the tension being built constantly. Brock's voice is so smooth, so emotionally charged and the chorus is once again layered with rich harmonies. Some fine soloing closes out the track.
Time to rock again and the groovy Higher Ground quickly becomes an album favourite. Brock sounds just a little bit grittier here and rocks it a little more - as does Mike Slamer with some hard edged guitar riffing and a good strong song tempo. But the chorus! AOR glory of course! The song features more amazing guitar solos and some truly out of this world uplifting layered vocals towards the end of the track.
Jaded follows the album formula and starts slow. Terry Brock never sounded so smooth and sweet as he does here and Mike's guitar playing is eloquent to say the least. Out of nowhere there appears a heavier, faster and more intense bridge / chorus double play that as it continues on keeps getting bigger and bigger and is another example of perfect high-tech AOR.
Beyond the Pale is another slow and dramatic song that takes a few minutes to build before some fine laid back guitar soloing and moody keyboard parts take the song into its second half. Not a lot of singing within this one – it's more an epic movie score type of song. It features more haunting and emotional vocals from Terry and more hidden melodies that reveal themselves with time.
Runaway again starts slow. More slow guitar soloing builds a fairly sparse track before various layers are added and the song builds to another orgasmic multi-layered chorus that rocks a little harder. This song concludes a mid-album triple play of sultry, moody AOR that appears very laid back to start with, but gains intensity as you get to know the album.
Audio Illusion is a much needed straight ahead melodic rocker. The song is all hooks and all high-tech harmonies and layers and layers of instruments. I'm not sold on the hook, but I love the fact the lyrics are having a dig at the modern day pop music industry.
Perfect Circle is part of a hard rock double play that closes out the album. Great hooks, great harmonies and a strong chorus and a relatively straight forward approach.
Superstar is even better. This is straight out of the Steelhouse Lane hand book and is the heaviest and most hard rocking track of the whole album. I could have used another couple of tracks like this – dramatic, intense and a little progressive also. It rocks!
The Bottom Line
Production perfection! Nowhere Land is another shining example of how you don't need to spend a million dollars to sound a million dollars. It also sets up Mike Slamer with a new franchise and a new sound to build upon. He could have pushed the boundaries a little more, but that will come. In the meantime, here we have a simply brilliant high-tech melodic rock album that features some of the best harmony vocals around and some of the best AOR guitar playing ever.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Mike Slamer - Streets . City Boy . Angry Anderson . Tower City;
· Steelhouse Lane - Metallic Blue
· Steelhouse Lane - Slaves Of The New World
· Seventh Key - Seventh Key
· Seventh Key - The Raging Fire
· Seventh Key - Live In Atlanta
· Slamer - Nowhere Land

Line Up:
· Terry Brock: Lead Vocals, BG Vocals
· Mike Slamer: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, BG Vocals
· Chet Wynd: Drums, BG Vocals
· Billy Greer: Background Vocals

Essential For Fans Of:
· Mike Slamer
· Terry Brock
· Steelhouse Lane
· Seventh Key
Track Listing
· Nowhere Land *
· Strength To Carry On *
· Not In Love *
· Come To Me
· Higher Ground *
· Jaded *
· Beyond the Pale
· Runaway
· Audio Illusion
· Perfect Circle *
· Superstar *

--*Best Tracks


27/08/09: gregg - gmcpa1@verizon.net
Rating: 88
Decent cd. Overrated however. A cut below the Steelhouse Lane recordings.

04/08/07: Nigel Spate - nigel@spate.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 100
A true well crafted classic album with some haunting moments. Go out and buy out you will not be disappointed and play it to your friends. Melodic Rock will never die as long as albums like this are made.

19/04/07: Mike - quick-lil-evo-8@verizon.net
Rating: 98
This is a CD that will really grow on you over time. It's not a rocker but a good mellow mood CD. About the only two bad songs on it are Audio Illusion and Supestar. I'm not really keen on Nowhere Land eithr but it is far better than the other two. When you aren't in the pedal to the metal mood this is a great CD to throw in the player. Excellent one to add to your collection.

17/04/07: Melodiker - melodiker69@yahoo.de
Rating: 100
Killer Album ! Best Album of the last decade ! Amazing !
Mike give us more from this classic stuff ! Yeah !

13/12/06: Kevin Betts - kevin.betts@gmail.com
Rating: 85
Andrew's review was spot on apart from the score. Immaculate playing, singing, engineering and production but a few too many slow songs leave it short of true classic status in my opinion.

12/12/06: Melodiker - melodiker@freenet.de
Rating: 100
Perfect Music ! Best CD in a long time ! Buy or Die !

08/12/06: Mika - erkkonen8@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
The best album of 2006! Fantastic songs, great playing and amazing vocals.....just AWESOME!!!

07/12/06: wredmon - wredmon@cox.net
Rating: 65
forgot how good aor sounds these days. excellent album.terry brocks vocals are dead on, and the production is extrodinary. strenght to carry on is dead-on steve walsh/kansas, and not in love is def leppard with cojones! billy greer lends superb vocals, and mike slamer is brillant guitarist.strong platter!!

06/12/06: Philip McKelvy - mckelvy_2000@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
These people who are dissing this record, obviously don't know music. Slamer kicks ass on this record, even on the ballads. You cannot dispute the vocal quality either. So sorry folks, this record is one of the best out there this year..or you are not a Melodic Rock fan.

24/11/06: Mari - marimichal@yahoo.com
Rating: 68
Sorry but I've listened to this cd over and over too and I don't like it. The song "Not In Love" is a STUN LEER rip-off and "Jaded" and "Beyond The Pale" are GLENN HUGHES rip-offs both in song and titles. Buy the STREETS cd's because they are the best that Slamer has to offer. Very overrated CD!!

22/11/06: carlos fernando santos - carlos_falcao@iol.pt
Rating: 100
sorry to people don't like,but must learn to play some instruments.best album of the year,aor-hard rock with progressive elements,amazing soft & slow introductions,even the fast tracks has melody of course.beautiful.melodic.heavy i have slayer,testament,metallica etc..the quiet songs have more power and it's more difficult to create than heavy things because has much more melody and good melodies is hard to compose,i know i'm talking about,more than 5000 cd's and 30 years listen rock,blues, jazz,classical etc..terry best work,perfect for strong melodies,for rock tunes keith slack has rough voice,good choice slammer and put more good music out.

19/11/06: Park Hanuk - kinghanuk@naver.com
Rating: 70
I've listend to this cd over and over and over and finally came to a conclusion - this cd doesn't have it. I really wanted to give this cd a chance because two of my favorite musicians in the business are leading the way - Terry Brock and Mike Slamer, but this cd just sounds uninspired. Songs are boring and unforgettable, I still don't remember any of the choruses besides "Strength to Carry on". I hate to say this but, overrated.

16/11/06: tj - bethrpmn@yahoo.com
Rating: 96
Top Notch AOR!!!! Great hooks..incredible production. Terry sounds motivated like never before. Must be listened to in enirety the first time to really appreciate the arrangements and melodies. Top 5 of 2006!!!

16/11/06: Robin McGhie - totobob@btinternet .com.
Rating: 96
Absolutely essential for any melodic hard rock fan. I am a big fan of Mike Slamer and Terry Brock, but this is an outstanding release on a par with all other cd's by these guys. By the way this is much stronger than Sunstorm. !!!

15/11/06: chriscr - chriscr@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 88
I really like this cd but all the songs are not great. Still worth getting. I recommend it but Sunstorm is better.

14/11/06: Lennie - glenfisher@hotmail.co.uk
Rating: 98
OK, Im going to go out on a limb and say that I prefer this album to Steelhouse Lane's 'Slaves of the New World'. People will probably laugh at this statement, but it's true!

For me, Slaves only has 3 real killer tunes on it and that's the last 3 tracks on the album. Elsewhere, the opener is just an average rocker, 'Sons of a Loaded Gun' is also average and then you have the silly title track and an overlong sugary ballad.

Slamer's 'Nowhere Land' is however killer nearly all the way through. The production is just as amazing as you would expect from Mike Slamer - his guitar work is awesome and is IMHO his best performance to date. Add to that Brock's vocal and you have the best release of the year (by far!).

Personal favs are of course the mighty 'Jaded' and 'Higher Ground' - 2 of the best AOR anthems of the year. Followed closely by 'Not in Love' - classic Journey sounding. Journey influences also come through on 'Audio Illusion' and 'Perfect Circle'. The 2 ballads are also great esp 'Come to Me' which although takes a while to get going, includes a really smooth uplifting chorus and some amazing guitar solos. Essential.

14/11/06: Axe-Machine - info@hugomusic.net
Rating: 85
This is a good record....very good in fact. Terry Brock sounds excellent on it and most of the songs are very pleasing on the ear. I wouldn't say this is as good as the 2nd Seventh Key album, which I would rate as Mike's definitive album, but there are some great moments, none finer than 'Not In Love', which to me is the best track on the album with an absolutely awesome chorus. 'Beyond The Pale', 'Come to Me' and 'Audio Illusion' are a bit weak in my opinion, and lose my interest a little, but the rest of the album is pretty stellar. Recommended - 85%.

13/11/06: dave r - emma2be4@hotmail.com
Rating: 89
Nowhere Land:Perfect title song guitars and vocals.
Strengh to Carry on:10/10 for the song.Strange placement on an album which is a shame.Still a beatiful song.
Not in Love:Fav song.Fantastic guitar intro then a sudden change of melody.A really cool bridge/chourus seals the song.
Come to me:A slow builder,melodic verses,some cracking harmonies and a great chorus.PERFECT
Higher Ground:Good rockin song.Some nice time changes.
Jaded:Close 2nd on fav songs.Nice soulful beginning,great vocals,classic guitars and a super chorus.
Beyond The Pale:Nice load of keys and vocals.Good song
Runaway:A song again that takes it's time to build.Nice vocals all the way though.Great chorus,gets you really uplifted.
Audio Illusion:Very much an 80's song.Yes it is having a dig at todays manufactured bands(nothing wrong with that)but the the song could be better.Take it or leave it.
Perfect Circle:Nice funky start,leading to a pretty cool chorus.Some nice guitars along the way too.
Superstar:Good heavy song to finish the album.Still got the multi layered vocals.Cracking Stuff.!!!

12/11/06: chris nelson - darkcastle2005@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 98
Wow i've never heard anything before by Mike Slamer,but going on meldicrock.com's review i thought i'd give it a blast.what can i say but totally brilliant its gotta be up there in melodics top 5 albums of the year.brilliantly written,produced and performed by what i can hear one of the most underrated guitarists ever.Along with Joe Lynn Turners Sunstorm,and FATE V,its in my top 3 of the year.

11/11/06: raymond - mariekeraymond@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
just awesome

11/11/06: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Rating: 91
First things first... Slamer's guitar playing is awe inspiring. If you love screaming guitars(heck, if you're like me and you MISS screaming guitars[where have they gone??]) you can't help but love this cd. The title track just kicks ass and takes no prisoners. The second track, STRENGTH TO CARRY ON, highlights both the strengths and slight weaknesses of this cd. It becomes clear just two tracks in that the musicianship and production are going to be first-rate and the star of the album. The song writing itself is rather simplistic, and often Terry Brock sounds more like he belongs on a Chicago cd. Not that that is a terrible thing, it's just that the music and production are SO good, that it makes the songwriting and vocals seem weaker by comparison. NOT IN LOVE is another great rocker. COME TO ME doesn't really grab me, and since it didn't, taking 8 minutes to get through it caused a loss of momentum. HIGHER GROUND was an uptempo track that also didn't work for me... maybe 'cuz COME TO ME lulled me to sleep? JADED gets the cd back on track for me... although I was worried at first with the mellow opening. I really liked the haunting feel of BEYOND THE PALE. RUNAWAY opens up nice and bluesy and picks up as it goes... very nice. AUDIO ILLUSION, PERFECT CIRCLE, & SUPERSTAR is a great little radio-friendly rock trifecta to close things out. Slamer is definitely a Top 10 CD of the Year nominee in my book.

10/11/06: Roger B - rogerbaldwin2168@tiscali.co.uk
Rating: 100
this is brilliant,what more can you say,every song is a killer but jaded is something else,my favourite song of the year.this is a must buy if you love melodic rock,don't miss out.

10/11/06: Craig Chapman - craig@taras-secret.com
Rating: 100
From the first note to the last on my first play, I just grinned like an idiot and its continued that way since.

There has been a lot of AOR that has fallen short of the character of the old bands - Journey, Survivor, REO Speedwagon etc - it became a bit of a AOR-by-numbers mush where so many bands sounded too alike. Many AOR bands have tried to get heavier and beat their chests, which again often passes me by, especially when the double kick drums start punching the valuable air out of the songs and they simply turn into a technical musical exercise.

Then once is a while along comes something that really hits the spot and this is as good as it gets for me. Take some of the best Journey and Asia moments, 11 songs with huge hooks and some superb atmospheres, not afraid to be a little controversial - war & girl band references in the lyrics - exquisite guitar from ex-City Boy man Mike Slamer (I still fondly remember "The Day The Earth Caught Fire") and amazing vocals from Tony Brock who reaches the levels he set with Strangeways' "Only A Fool" & "Goodnight LA."

"Runaway" and "Jaded" sprawl across the rug infront of the fire place with all the panache and slinkiness of a bikini clad Kelly Hu and whilst there are 6 slow songs on here, the pace never grinds to a halt. Many would miss the superb riffing on display (forgive me for not quoting too many song titles, I listen in the car and therefore can't study the sleavenotes at the same time).

Can't wait for the live shows and another album of this

10/11/06: Nicodim - reverendnicorim@gmail.com
Rating: 100
Absolutely best album of the year 2006!!! I never expected it will be a killer. I just can't stop listening 2 it. It has no weakness at all! Most of all I liked Jaded, Strength To Carry On, Come To Me, Higher Ground, Runaway and, of course, Superstar. But Jaded is a personal killer 4 me - I was flattened out by the floor after heard it 1st time!!! Fantastic!

09/11/06: nigeljames - nigeljames@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 88
At times average other times excellent. Not really worth the hype as T Brocks "Back to Eden" is a different class but there are some songs here that would fit on that album very nicely. Good production.

09/11/06: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 99
Slamer´s solo debut (as a name anyway) is the best I have heard of him ever. The seventh key record is great, but this i better. Could say that this is also a masterpiece in this genre. And dont forget Terry Brock, what a amazing singer he is, more record with him please. Of all of the cd´s this year this is one you must buy if you like melodicrock with a few more as Sunstorm, House of lord latest. This is a Masterpiece (can you believe that Sunstorm and Slamer came out the same date)

09/11/06: Sava - svemirski_modulator@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
Very good album!

09/11/06: Bobby Wood - rwood1@midsouth.rr.com
Rating: 100
This particular record is by far the best I've heard this year. I'm an old school 80-90's rocker and Mike just nailed this thing to the wall. I love 7th Key, Billy Greer and Terry Brock. Most of the projects Mike has touched are very, very good. I can't get it out of my cd player..and can't wait for Terry's record as well. Billy has another 7th Key coming up...I just wish radio stations in the States would play this!!! Just awesome writing. if you don't like this you don't like rock and roll...posted by Bobby in Memphis Tennessee


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