Saturday, October 13, 2012

REDLINE: "Victory"

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

Uk's Redline may be signed to a label that's mostly known for its' more melodic output, but don't mistake them for an AOR band. Nope, their sound is closer to heavy metal, maybe not by today's standards but in 1985 they would have been called a Heavy Metal band.

After listening the first few songs, I wasn't particulary impressed. Tracks like "Battle Cry" and "King Of The Mountain" are what I'd call "basic hard rock", competently played and sung but uninteresting with not much in the way of melodies. One has to wait until track four to hear any backing vocals, which makes the first tracks sound a bit dry.

A cool riff kicks off track number five, "Twisting The Knife", and it feels like I had put on another album! There's backing vocals, there's melodies and hooks! Not to mention a very appealing "mid-eighties US metal" vibe - I'm thinking of such bands as Icon, King Kobra, Dokken...

The dramatic semi-ballad "Cold Silence" benefits of the string arrangement created by one Jimmy Lea of Slade fame and gets "a thumbs up", even though I still think it could've used a stronger chorus hook. The 80'ies them continues with "High Price To Pay" which has the kind of sequencer effect that ZZ Top favoured on their mega-albums back then. Kinda cool, but the chorus is a bit of letdown again.

The album's standout for me is definitely "Edge Of Falling", which beats the current Dokken line-up in their own game - cool guitars, great hook, fine vocal performance. This song sounds more like vintage Dokken than anything that Don Dokken has released lately, yet it doesn't rip off any of their songs directly. Well, that "Why Baby Why" line does sound familiar, but let's call it a tribute!

"Some Kinda Mean" is a good song too with sharp riffing from the axe duo of A.D. and Steve Petty, while the band's potential live anthem "We Came To Rock" closes the album on a positive note.

After the not-so-good start this album turned out to be a decent one after all. A special mention must go to the production team, the album sounds great, even though backing vocals are used way too sparingly on the first few songs. Speaking of vocals, Kez Taylor must be mentioned as well, his solid performance elevates the weaker tracks to a higher level. And now that I've started to name the band members, Mark Biddiscombe (drums) and Steve Hill (bass) is the rhythm section, solid as a rock...

For the next album, I hope that the band cherishes their melodic side and writes some killer chorus hooks. But still, this is a decent start.


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