Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ELEMENTS OF FRICTIONS: "Elements Of Frictions

Rating: Comp.
Label: Lions Pride Music 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Not to be confused with the all-star project at MTM in 2001 feat. Robin MacAuley (MSG), etc. With this particular Elements Of Frictions, the newly founded melodic hard rock label Lions Pride Music in Denmark, is bringing back some of the voices from the past of the genre in the likes of Larry Baud (Red Dawn), Rich Cox (Sic Vikki), Mark Evans (Heavens Edge), Stefan Berggren (Snakes In Paradise), Stephan Kammerer (Frontline), Tommy La Verdi (21 Guns/LRS), Paul Laine (Danger Danger, solo), Mats Levén (Treat, Swedish Erotica, Yngwie Malmsteen), Pete Loran (Trixter), Oliver Fehr (Transit), Matti Alfonzetti (Jagged Edge, Bam Bam Boys, Skintrade) and Swedish newcomer Emma Varg.

Elements Of Frictions is the brainchild of label owner and founder Carsten Nielsen according to the press release. I'm not entirely sure if it's simply just the one-off project or a sampler of future label releases?? Let's hope for the latter as they plan to release many more melodic and AOR albums. Matti Alfonzetti is responsible for mixing the album and also for writing six out of fourteen tracks including the ones performed by Oliver Fehr, Emma Varg, Mats Levén, and Larry Baud.

Add to this Alfonzetti's solo tune, "Don't Leave Me Lonely" (good hi-tech AOR number and softer than his usual solo stuff as of lately) and band project Area 51 feat. Sven Cirnski: guitars (Bad Habit), Micke Hoglund: bass (Great King Rat, Thunder), Jamie Borger: drums (Treat, Talisman), Pasi Oxman: Keys. Their song, "Little One", great mix of Swedish melodic rock ála Europe, Baltimore and U.K. rock ála Deep Purple and Rainbow. Emma Varg and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" represent the female-ish style of the genre like Chrissy Steele, Femme Fatale, Robin Beck, and it's one of the stronger tracks on this compilation. "Make You Mine" feat. Larry Baud and co-written by Alfonzetti/Baud, it's a far cry from the classy Red Dawn album and the production sounds like a demo. The Mats Levén track (Only My Heart) sounds like a mix between Alfonzetti and the leftover tracks from the self titled TREAT album.

Other tracks written by their performers: Stefan Berggren or Snakes In Paradise and "Without Your Love". "When You Grow Up" by Marcello/Vestro deliver the song of the album with their lovely U.S. melodic rock of the eighties. Pete Loran try his best to sound like classic Trixter on "To The Limit" and does a pretty good job at it. Summer fun stuff. Paul Laine deliver some fine melody and noisy guitar work on "Another Me" as it sounds like the most punky and modern pop-ish track of them all. Not bad though. Just different from the others. Tommy La Verdi and "Somebody Up There" has the Zack Wylde influenced riff and was previously recorded by Street Legal? I believe there's a Ozzy connection too? Frontline's Stephan Kammerer and "All About You" is a very soft and fluffy number with just as much pop as hard rock influences. The refrain is kind of annoying in the long run with its constant repeat of the title. Could benefit from a re-write and let's add more words to the chorus, yeah? "Let Me Down Easy" by Sic Vikki's Rich Cox is a major disappointment (Steve Plunkett to the rescue?). The same goes for Mark Evans (Heavens Edge) and the snooze fest "Piece Of The Action".

Final verdict: Interesting and definitely worthy of your time. A couple of stinkers and not always the best of sound. The majority of tracks are nice though and let's wait and see what comes next from this label.
Lions Pride Music

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