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The Ladder Sacred Escape Music
ESM149
Produced By: Steve Overland & Pete Jupp

Running Time: 53.45

Release Date: April 23

Released:

Musical Style: AOR / Melodic Rock

Links: Escape Music
92%
Songs: 92%
Sound: 93%
The Ladder is another star vehicle for famed FM frontman Steve Overland. Not to be confused with the ultra smooth and sugary sweet styling of Shadowman, The Ladder features fellow FM members Pete Jupp and Bob Skeat in a less polished and more rock n roll setting.
The debut featured unreleased songs from the FM library, re-recorded by the above line up with the addition of guitarist Vinny Burns.
For this, the band's second album, we get a clean slate all new songs and a new guitarist too. In comes Gerhard Pichler (Poley/Pichler) and with him a new sound.
I never thought I would use this term, but for the most part, this is modern AOR. Not modern rock and not old-school AOR, but something fresh for this genre.
Gerhard's influence over the material and his contemporary guitar tuning has taken The Ladder in a new direction.
The tone is darker and heavier and the style quite modern as far as the guitar approach. Steve Overland as always remains as soulful and as smooth as ever.
It is a bit of a contrast and took a little getting used to, but the quality of songwriting, a strong production and the attention to detail as far as choruses and hooks wins you over.
Body & Soul eases the listener is with its 'half way' approach, but the dark and heavy Sacred is as modern as it comes as far as guitar tone. But Steve's smooth vocal and a good chorus keeps it melodic.
The very good ballad Something To Believe In eases the harder approach momentarily before a couple of modern sounding pop rockers breeze through. All Of My Life in particular a stand out track.
Run To You is another fine uptempo pop rocker, with a lighter feel, which moves smoothly into Here I Am, one of the albums' stand out choruses and a track that employs a very old-school guitar sound, abandoning the heavier line for a while.
Sea Of Love, Abandoned and Mean Streets are more contemporary, but pretty commercial also.
In-between those tracks is the very moody and contemporary Make A Wish, itself with a strong chorus to hang on to.
The Bottom Line
Who ever thought that AOR could be contemporary? The Ladder proves it is possible. Not every track sounds like hear and now, with several still touching on the classic AOR Steve Overland fans will be more used to, but the overall approach is very up to date and the songs are pretty much everything you could ask for Overland to sing his best on. Another very high quality release if the description sounds appealing. Similar rating to the debut - different releases, but both excellent examples of the genre.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Future Miracles
Sacred

Line Up:
Steve Overland: Vocals
Gerhard Pichler: Guitar
Pete Jupp: Drums
Bob Skeat: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
Steve Overland
FM
Shadowman
Track Listing
Body & Soul *
Sacred *
Something To Believe In *
All Of My Life *
Believe In Me
Run To You *
Here I Am
Sea Of Love *
Make A Wish
Mean Streets
Abandonded

--*Best Tracks


21/05/07: Kevin Betts - kevin.betts@gmail.com
Rating: 95
Best album of the year for me so far and possibly the best thing Steve Overland has ever done. The opening four tracks are absolute killers (congrats to whoever chose the running order) and the rest of the album barely drops in quality. 'Believe in Me' is the weakest track and the lyrics, as so often, are pretty mundane (quite how Overland manages to inject so much passion into the songs is beyond me) hence 5% short of perfection.

19/05/07: Brian - akitaboy316@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
this gotta be one the best albums i've heard in along time steve overland you are the man great song writing and musicainship

14/05/07: Ton - o.herwijnen
Rating: 80
Good vocals as usual. Listening the whole album (just like the other Ladder/Shadowmanalbums) for me it sounds a little bit boring cause all the songs are in the same vein. Not bad at all, but not outstanding.Well produced.

02/05/07: Axe-Machine - lisvanepanthers@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 91
Who ever thought AOR could be contemporary indeed! Steve Overland's vocals are at their usual best and the songs while being modern are still catchy and familiar. The first half of the album especially deserves a special mention, because tracks like Sacred, All My Life, Run To You and Something To Believe In are very good indeed. If you were like me thinking they were making a big mistake leaving their typical FM sound behind with The Ladder, think again. This album is great. My only criticism is that those guitar solos are a bit uninteresting, but that's a small price to pay for such great tunes. Highly Recommended. 91%.

01/05/07: guillermo - guillerperez@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
el album en general es bastante bueno. Mejor que el primero . Yo esperaba un sonido mas FM pero lo cierto es que mola. POr cierto tiene un tema Run to you que hace que Bryan Adams parezca la infanta Sofia. ES que es Aor del bueno no escuchaba una cancion asi desde RED Dawn

01/05/07: Mike Singe - mikesinge@gmail.com
Rating: 98
I've been brooding on some "rational" explanation why imho every AOR lover should get this, nut I just can't.
Only thing I can say is that this CD gives me goosebumps from beginning to end!
Go get it!!!

30/04/07: Rarock - epismo@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
Never heared of FM or the Ladder before. Then listened to all the minibytes from MR and one band stood out - the Ladder. Then I got the CD and it stills sounds fantastic, especially the songwriting. The first half of album there are plain great songs. with hooks, with great vocals, backup vocals, with some good addition of guitars and other instruments. Something to Belive in or All of my life should be hits if radio would be normal. But they are definitely hits for me, they just connect with me. Strong candidate for album of the year for me.

BTW, then I got me also FM tough it out and it is nothing special. I also got the first from Ladder and it has for me weaker songs.

29/04/07: Mike Singe - mikesinge@gmail.com
Rating: 93
I played 'Future Miracles' over and over again, the same will happen with this CD. Although 'Sacred' has a different mood it's very much recognizable and enjoyable.

27/04/07: Niraj Kapur - niraj@heavensdelight.co.uk
Rating: 90
When fans talk about the best singers in rock'n'roll, quality names like Joe Lynn Turner, James Christian, Jeff Scott Soto, Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, are regularly mentioned. Steve Overland, lead singer of The Ladder, is also part of that elite; soulful, raw, sexy and emotive are the best ways to describe his voice. On the "Tribute To Boston" album from Escape Music, he sings Amanda better than the original, which is quite a feat. With FM's Tough It Out, one of the best melodic rock albums of all time, he can veer from Everytime I Think Of You to Someday with professional ease.

Sacred has a more modern feel, which takes time to adjust to. Mean Streets, Abadoned adn the title track still haven't grown on me, but Make A Wish, Run To You, Body and Soul and All Of My Life are songs you can listen to time and time again. It's defiantley on par with the strong debut album,

Like Tony Clarkin, Jonathan Cain, Ritchie Zito, Jim Steinman and Jeff Scott Soto, Steve Overland continues to write powerful songs after almost 20 years. I hope one day he gets the worldwide success he deserves. www.heavensdelight.co.uk

25/04/07: Dag H Moldskred - dejen@adsl.no
Rating: 90
Hi

This is a safe buy if you like a cross between tough it out and take it to the streets.Good sound and good aor,still with a little blues wich i would have left out but with that amazing voice wich got the blues i guess he will not sing an album like indiscreet again.Anyway its a good album worth buying ,think the first is a little better.


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