Sir Jim Of Peterik returns with another essential dose of pure, classic melodic rock, on which the songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist has built his career.
And alongside Sir Jim on this occasion is a new partner in crime, a new Knight of the AOR Realm, vocalist Marc Scherer.
This is one for anyone that has appreciated Jim Peterik’s vast contributions to the rock world.
The 80s AOR of Survivor; the pomp of Ides Of March and the birth of Jim’s own identity via Pride Of Lions and his work with Jimi Jamison on Crossroads Moment.
The voice of the Peterik machine is fellow Chicago native Marc Scherer, who whilst having a long local musical history, will now be heralded as ‘another’ Peterik discovery.
His contribution to this album is a vital one. His voice is extraordinary. He lifts these already great tunes into classic territory and the warmth in his tone brightens these songs immeasurably.
Marc has the perfect AOR voice. He mixes Jimi Jamison’s higher range and Toby Hitchcock’s lower register to create another essential voice to Jim’s work. No wonder Jim decided he just had to do an album with him.
Risk Everything has all those Peterik trademarks – soaring vocals, passionate ballads, rousing anthems and feel good lyrics and sentimental melodies.
And for the delight of Peterik fan club members (and perhaps the frustration of others), there’s also a little of Jim’s own unique pomp-n-stage style rock opera friendly songs in the mix.
The quality of this album is to be praised. Risk Everything is akin to the debut Pride Of Lions album and Crossroads Moment and features perhaps the best production quality and mix to date from Jim’s usual band of brothers – Larry Millas, Mike Aquino, Ed Breckenfeld and Bob Lizik.
The vocals have already been praised (as should the multiple harmony vocals throughout – from Marc alongside Alex Ligertwood); the drums are perfect; the mix of keyboards and guitars even and balanced.
The songs hint at classic Survivor, the best of Pride Of Lions and also a determination to stand on their own. Jim and Marc have spent a long time getting this album right over the last few years. It has been worth the wait and I can’t imagine any fans of Jim or Jimi or Toby not eating this up.
There are many highlights – in fact, each track on the 11 song album has its own place and identity. This is also the closest to Survivor I have heard yet from Jim.
After a rousting intro, the album explodes with Risk Everything - one of the AOR songs of 2015 with its driving beat and the rising verse to a long chorus double dose of melody.
Chance Of A Lifetime is almost Vital Signs material such is the keyboard heavy melodic rocker with a feel good aura.
Then there’s Cold Blooded which sounds again like an 80s movie anthem with a modern production and a strong chorus punch.
Desperate In Love has that I Can’t Hold Back kind of classic AOR feel.
Thee Crescendo is everything some love (and some hate) in Jim Peterik’s theatrical side. The over the top pomp rocker and lyrical salute to music belongs on a stage somewhere. Peterik fans will love it as I do.
Elsewhere on the album is the magic big ballad How Long Is A Moment; the Pride Of Lions rocker Brand New Heart; the moody Broken Home and the soaring mid-tempo AOR Milestones which features another great vocal from Marc.
The regular album closes with the feel good, free flowing melodic rock tune Independence Day.
The Japanese edition features 2 bonus tracks.
The Man I Am is almost reminiscent of Ever Since The World Began, but a step up in tempo. It’s a great ‘up’ ballad.
And Moments To Memories is simply another solid Peterik uptempo feel good melodic rock song.
There are two additional tracks recorded for the album that were at the last moment swapped to the Fergie Frederiksen/Jimi Jamison tribute album The Torch.
Both tracks were written in tribute – one for each singer. Heaven Passes The Torch for Jimi – a rousing anthemic AOR track with several guest vocals and some inspired vocals and harmonies.
You’re In Our Hearts is the tribute to Fergie and also sung once again by Marc. And what can you say – it’s a monster ballad that is a fitting tribute to the great man.
You know the sound, you know the style, you know the quality. The only thing left to work out is where you will buy this great album from.