Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SECRET: ”The End Of The Road”

Rating: RRRR

Label: Melodic Rock Records 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Remember the Spanish AOR band 91 Suite? Jesús Espín (vocals) and Iván González (guitar) have ended their long hiatus and formed a new melodic rock band called Secret. Their rather pessimistically titled debut album ”The End Of The Road” has been getting some serious spinning in our household lately, and I guess it’s safe to say that it won’t be the end of the road for these guys.

Fans of 91 Suite should pick this up, because the musical style of Secret is quite similar. There are a couple of interesting twists and turns though. Let’s go thru the tracks one by one.

Opener ”Here With Me” made me think that Secret might be a completely different animal to 91 Suite. It’s an uptempo, hard rocking track that reminds me of a mix of Winger, Extreme and Van Halen. Guitarist Iván González is on fire and throws in some serious axemanship, yet the song doesn’t turn into a shredfest. There’s plenty of melody and hooks in it. It’s one of my favorites.

”Since I Fell For You” is a more AOR-type of a song and very good at that, very Journeyesque. ”Just To Hear You Say” is an AOR song too, but there are some country elements in it, kinda like a warning of what’s to come…

”Give Up The Fight” starts with a heavy riff, as if to wash away the taste of country guitars of the previous song. It also features Nick Workman of Vega on guest vocals. A good one.

The ballad ”Trust In Someone” sounds like an Aerosmith ballad from the nineties, not that special for me but good if you like that kind of stuff. ”I Believe In Love” is a decent AOR song, but maybe a little ”AOR by numbers”. ”When You Really Love Someone” is probably the most ”shocking” song on the album, as the country elements are pushed to the foreground. It’s basically an ok song, but with the slide guitars and a sugary chorus it kind of sticks out like an abandoned stetson in a cactus. And the guitar solo… way too hillbilly for me.

”Peace Of Mind” more than makes up for the country assault. It’s a killer AOR track with touches of early Bon Jovi and possibly my favorite track of the album. ”Wherever You Go” is a decent ballad, while ”Out Of My Life” is another AOR gem with cool keyboards and a late eighties’ vibe. ”Bring You Down” has more of a modern rock style with a slower chorus than the verses - something that hardly ever works for me. The album closing track ”Angeline” is a ballad that reminds me of Stryper at first, but then turns into something different. Stylish guitars from González again.

So there… it’s not the end of the road, but maybe the band is at a crossroads. Should they explore the more country’ish direction or stick to AOR, or maybe go for a harder sound á la ”Here With Me”? The country road could be the most lucrative, but for completely selfish reasons I hope they don’t choose that… I’d be happy with a mix of AOR and harder edged stuff. Even a little bit of that country stuff will do, as long as they don’t start rapping!

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