Friday, October 9, 2015
JOEL HOEKSTRA'S 13: "Dying To Live"
Label: Frontiers 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Joel Hoekstra, who? Former Night Ranger and current Whitesnake guitarist, that's who. He's also part of the Trans Siberian Orchestra, but we never payed much attention to be completely honest. The 13 tag and band members such as Tony Franklin and Vinny Appice lead us first to to believe in Blue Murder and John Sykes only to realise that we've included the wrong Appice brother/drummer. Oh well. 'Dying to Live' is still something that John Sykes and Blue Murder could have recorded in the early nineties and I sort of think of Hoekstra as the lesser version of Sykes somehow? That's a bit harsh, but not necessarily wrong.
Russell Allen (Symphony X, Allen/Lande) and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey, Talisman, Eyes, etc.) are the two lead vocalists on the record and the latter gets stuck with second grade/rate material. Indeed. Allen sings all the goodies such as 'Anymore', 'Changes', or 'Long For The Days', excellent mid-tempo Whitesnake rock. In fact. Allen has never sounded this close to Coverdale in the past. Compare this to the blunt work of "Scream" and you'll notice that Soto is losing out big time. The only good thing about this track, the keyboards by Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Kiss, etc).
The title track (sung by Allen) and 'What We Believe' (sung by Soto and TSO singer Chloe Lowery) are the two exceptions as the first do absolutely nothing while the latter goes down smooth as the Heart/Led Zeppelin folk tune. The hit and miss kind of album. Neat guitar work though.