Once Upon Our Yesterdays
Doogie White and Sten Morgensen are back for Cornerstone album number three.|
The band, through their first two albums, has really gathered a huge following. The debut was a slice of great intense, dark AOR. Last year's Human Stain was a lot heavier and more intense again.
And now Once Upon Our Yesterdays is different again. Good to see the line-up has remained in tact, with Mike Tramp guitarist Kasper back, as well as drummer Allan Sorensen.
In some way, the album falls between the styles of the two albums. I am not yet sure where fans will rank this album. I'm leaning toward it being their best to date. The songs are just fabulous and Doogie's vocals are nothing short of amazing.
Some fans will be a little alarmed to hear the album isn't as heavy as Human Stain, but that doesn't mean it wimps out. It remains tough, in your face hard rock, just a little more straight-ahead, for lack of a better description.
The most notable thing about the album is the super clean, tight and balanced production. It makes this a far less complicated album. There is a lot going on musically, but it seems stripped back, with an open and accessible sound. Each track is filled to the brim with melodies to listen to at every turn. This really does come across like a major label release.
Track By Track:
Welcome To Forever is a good opener. The track has the necessary – and expected - instrumental intro/build up before kicking in. When it does you will notice it's not as heavy as it could be, but still features a furious kick drum and a really clean guitar riff. Doogie moves straight into high gear as does the rhythm section.
The song features a strong and memorable chorus with a strong lead guitar riff.
When The Hammer Falls is a tough, hard rocker with a great lead vocal and some intense guitar play. The chorus is as menacing as Cornerstone can be, but its Doogie's huge vocals that rule the track.
Passion To Warfare is a mid tempo rocker that features an interesting intro before launching into another super tight guitar riff. The chorus is rather smooth and moody affair, with Doogie taking on a different tone.
Hour Of Doom features another great vocal performance. This is a somewhat lighter, but more uptempo rocker with a chorus that takes a couple of listens before becoming one of the albums' best. This track has a great melodic bridge and some snappy lead guitar before retreating back into a less intense verse.
Man Without A Reason is nothing short of a beautiful ballad. Doogie takes it to a new level without doubt with some powerful, passionate vocals. The song itself it fuelled by some great slow bluesy lead guitar soloing and a really strong melodic hook.
21st Century Man fires things up again with what might be the heaviest track on the album. Organ, drums and guitar all kick into high gear with a big lead vocal. The song itself is pretty simple – uptempo European hard rock at it's best. Once Upon Our Yesterdays is another cool track. It's dark, heavy and slow track that builds intensity through the moody verse to a slightly heavier chorus.
The uptempo rocker End Of The World features a strong Celtic vibe. A monster rhythm section and a strong lead vocal keeps the track rolling along. The track is one of those really musically intense tracks that isn't an instant hit, but a solid album track.
It's time for another ballad. Some Have Dreams is acoustic to start, before the full band kicks in to fire it up a little. The song features more great guitar parts and a strong chorus that gets better each play. Nice to hear a big dose of Hammond organ in the mix too.
Scream closes the album. The song runs through a short guitar intro before bursting to life. This is another big epic feeling rock track with a powerful, intense sound that features another fabulous vocal. Surely this is Doogie's best work to date.
No major chorus, but a super intense song with layers of melodies to get to know.
This is not a hit chorus type of album. The album is best enjoyed by playing it start to finish rather than picking out individual songs. It is a great melodic but heavy rock album. I can't imagine many/any better European hard rock albums appearing this year.
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