Monday, October 8, 2012

BONRUD: "Save Tomorrow"

Rating: RRR
Label: Escape Music 2012
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Bonrud's second album has been a long time in the making, but it has now finally seen the light of day. Some of you may remember the band's first effort which was released a few years ago. While it was a decent album, it didn't have that much character of its' own - I believe I called it "textbook AOR" in my review. Now, for "Save Tomorrow" the band's mainman Paul Bonrud has recruited a new vocalist (Rick "Four Octave" Forsgren) and tweaked the band's direction. This time around the songs aren't quite as "standard AOR" as before, there's a cool metal edge added to some of them. But fear not, if you liked the previous album, there's still plenty of AOR to be found too.

I must say that for my money, the highlights are among the heavier tracks. The opener "We Collide" sounds a bit like Fates Warning's or Queensr├┐che's most melodic tracks, as does "End Of Days", another personal favourite. Some of the AOR stuff is really good as well, like the album's title track which reminds me a lot of vintage Journey, guitar-driven tracks like "Stone In Love" and "Anyway You Want It". The Blue Tears-like "You're The One" is another winner.

Some of the remaining heavier songs could have used bigger chorus hooks, while the some of the AOR material still suffers of that "textbook AOR" syndrome, the melodies and the lyrics sound like they were written only to follow some rules of AOR songwriting.

"Save Tomorrow" has been produced by Keith Olsen and Paul Bonrud, and it sounds so good that it's almost a shame to give it only three "R's". If there only had been a couple more tracks as captivating as "We Collide" that additional "R" would have been easy to throw in. But never mind, let's go for five "R's" the next time around, ok?

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