Monday, March 24, 2014

SUNSTRIKE - "Rock Your World"

Label: AOR Heaven
Review By: Alan Holloway

Sweden has graces us with many, many sweet AOR tunes, so it’s no surprise to find yet another new band trundling through the heavenly gates to simply astonish with their debut album. Formed by the guitarist and drummer from the more metal Astral Doors, Sunstrike are more than a side project, with “Rock Your World” coming fully formed and full of form.

What immediately grabs you is the sheer joyfulness contained within the album. This is AOR from people who realize that it’s supposed to be happy, upbeat music. Vocalist Christian Hedgren (Twilight Force) is a revelation, his voice fitting the music perfectly, and the music is as full of beans as a Mexican meeting of overeaters anonymous.

With a title like “Rock Your World”, it’s no surprise that the album contains nothing at all new. That said, however, it takes traditional European melodic rock and plays it like a virtuoso on an old violin. There’s hints of TNT, Europe and newer bands like Eclipse here (it was produced by Erik from said band), with every track coming across well. There are no weak links, no ballads, and no outstaying it’s welcome at twelve tracks long. “Power Of Dreams” and the title track kick things off like a barrel full of gunpowder, and things don’t let up until the last but one track “Edge Of Life”, which is the only track with a whiff of half heartedness about it.

Make no mistake, this is old school AOR, with proud keyboards, drums and guitars harmoniously sharing the spotlight throughout. There have been many bands who have done similar stuff and wandered off into the night, forgotten by many (The Shock, anyone?), but for those who have heard their music it will always live on. “Rock Your World” has tracks that you will still want to hear a decade from now, beautifully put together with plenty of fire and fury. It’s time to party like it’s 1989, people, but in a good way.

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