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| 27 October 2015 | Reply


Label: Frontiers Music srl

Release Date: October 16, 2015

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Most guitarists are content to grab their six-string (or more) and play lead after lead in a big name band, but someone like Joel Hoekstra isn’t your normal content guitarist.  As a guy who has played stages with Night Ranger, Whitesnake, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Joel has achieved a lot, but he still had an album of rockers brewing under the surface… and here it is.  Disc opener “Say Goodbye To The Sun” has a killer groove that is enhanced by the solos that rip through the track at different spots, especially the bridge.  The addition of Russell Allen vocals gives the song a bit of bite.  “Anymore” is another track to feature the lead vocals of Allen, while Joel cranks the song along with great riffs and solos.  The melody underneath is great and helps the song soar between verses and choruses.  “Long For The Days” leans more to the lighter side of tracks on this collection, or what Joel has referred to as the Foreigner-ish tracks.  This track allows Allen to show off the mellower side of his voice.  “Never Say Never” is a great track that blends a heavy melodic sound with a cool tempo and groove.  The pounding rhythm section of drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Tony Franklin really give this track punch.  “The Only Way To Go” gives Soto a heavier track to breathe live into, while Joel and his guitar create a killer sound that seems to fit within the realm of this disc, but feels somehow bigger than other songs, especially at the bridges and solo.  “Start Again” is another of the lighter rock tracks on the disc, but do not dismiss the guitar work behind Soto’s big vocals.  Hoekstra’s talent is more than evident on this monster track.  Other tracks on this track feature some of the following contributors: Derek Sherinian (keyboards), Chloe Lowery (vocals), Toby Hitchcock (backing vocals), Charlie Zeleny (percussion), and Dave Eggar (cello).

“Until I Left You” dials things into a more melodic rock groove, with a milder tempo and temperament.  Hoekstra’s guitar work on this track paired with the vocals of Jeff Scott Soto create a killer sound that gives this track a different feel than some of the others on the disc.  “Scream” brings Hoekstra’s burning guitar abilities into a cool swirling wall of rock built around Soto’s vocals.  The songs strength is the backbone of chugging riffs that accompany the mini solos that Hoekstra drops into the mix.  “Changes” is a true power ballad that gives the vocals roam to soar and swirl in the mix with the guitars, played perfectly by Hoekstra.  The lyrics are delivered with precision by Russell Allen, while the background vocals build a wall of sound.  “Dying To Live” opens with cool guitar sounds and big vocals.  Soon the two come together and really build into a full sound that takes this disc to the next level.  This track, featuring lead vocals from Allen on the verse and prominent vocals from Soto on the chorus has a different feel that shifts gears, especially when the guitar kicks in at the bridge.  “What We Believe” is one of the most diverse tracks on the disc, but it works one this collection.  While most guitar-based albums feature searing solos and riffs, along with a menagerie of pings and squeals, Hoekstra’s real strength is evident on the closing track – wrapping his guitar work around the vocals and allowing each song to come to life in a different way with a different groove and texture.

​​​​​Tracklisting: Say Goodbye To The Sun – Anymore – Until I Left You – Long For The Days – Scream – Never Say Never – Changes – The Only Way To Go – Dying To Live – Start Again – What We Believe






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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