Avenue Of Allies 2011
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Yeah, this is the band that Anette Olzon used to front before she was chosen to replace Tarja Turunen in Nightwish. That new job of hers raised the public's interest towards the band, their two albums were reissued and I would imagine the renewed interest prompted the band to return to active duty. Without Anette though, behind the microphone is nowadays another fine female vocalist by the name of Arabella Vitanic.
If you are familiar with the band's previous work, you'll know what to expect: female-fronted AOR that will remind you of Erika, Heart, Robin Beck and other similar artists. Nothing new under the sun but remarkably well delivered. Productionwise this album blows the previous two out of the water, partly thanks to Chris Laney's involvement in the production. When it comes to the songs, this might be the band's best selection of them as well.
The album kicks off with the hard-edged "Liar", which has some strangely "Nightwishy" elements, especially in the vocal melodies. A fine song nevertheless. "Will I Make Love" features Michael Bormann (ex-Jaded Heart/Bloodbound/Zeno etc) dueting with Arabella, and they do sound good together. "Changes" is another heavier track, courtesy of Shiva's Mats Edström, and features Rob Marcello (Danger Danger) on lead guitar. Good, but not one of my favourites. "Amazing Days" is a favourite, even though it sounds like it's been modeled after Erika's breakthrough hit "Together We're Lost"... the melodies aren't that close, but the keyboards, the structure... the "original" is an all-time favourite of mine, so I can't help but liking this "tribute" too.
Next up, "Don´t Know If Love Is Alive" a mid-tempo tune with very Heart-like verses but a bland chorus fails to impress, and I'd say is the only dud on this album. All remaining tracks are solid melodic rock material, it's one AOR "hit" after another. "Into The Fire" and "Somewhere" stand out, but not that much. There may have been some "Changes", but they're only for the better - Alyson Avenue is alive and kickin'!