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Frederiksen / Denander Baptism By Fire Frontiers Records
FRCD335
· Produced By: Denander & Frederiksen

· Running Time: 53.44

· Release Date: June 8

· Released:

· Musical Style: AOR / Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers
93%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 90%
The Fergie Frederiksen / Tommy Denander partnership makes a lot of sense. After all, Fergie's vocal tracks on Tommy's last couple of Radioactive projects were the highlight of those albums. So in essence, Frederiksen/Denander is an expansion upon those Radioactive appearances…a main course rather than a mere appetizer.
Elaborating further, everything on this album is bigger and better than what we've been dished up previously.
Naturally we get lashings of Tommy Denander's usual guitar/keyboard/synth programming style that is synonymous with every one of his records, but in this case the production is far superior thanks to a tight Dennis Ward mix, and turning in a blinding vocal performance is the star of this show - Fergie Frederiksen.
He really sounds in super fine voice and is a treat to listen to. Having been a fan of Fergie's since his debut with Toto on the still classic Isolation album, I can safely say this is one of his finest vocal performances.
The songwriting I must say is of high standard too, even if we have heard it before.
I wouldn't say this record pushes any boundaries or challenges any preconceived notion of the two performers, but it does deliver the quality expected of both and then some.
The opening bars of the album may be a little predictable, but once the chorus of Let Him Go arrives, all is forgiven. This is a glorious harmony filled track with a nice touch of piano.
Other rockers include the straight forward Silver Lining which features a wonderful lead vocal through the verse; the stampeding Crossing Over which is an album highlight; and the darker and intense Baptism By Fire.
Never Try And Love Again is pure AOR bliss and Dead End is a high-tech styled pop rocker with a little attitude. Keep A Light On rolls along with ease but perhaps misses a bigger hook.
Right Heart, Wrong Time showcases a more laid back aspect of the songwriting, but still manages to soar with another defining chorus.
Written In Stone follows a similar path and is one of two very Toto-ish tracks on the album. The jazzy Isolation styled Left With Nothing is the other – itself another album highlight.
A couple of songs don't work in the sense that they just sound a little programmed and all too familiar. For me that is Saving Grace and Can't Get Enough.
And it would be remiss of me to not comment on the lack of a ballad or two here?
There are ten very consistent tracks here and a couple that I think don't quite impact as well as they could.
Perhaps those two tracks could have been swapped for a couple of killer ballads? That would have given the album an even better balance and sent AOR fans into a real tizzy.
The Bottom Line
Baptism By Fire is exactly what I expected and I think a number of melodic rock fans will breathe a sigh of relief at that notion. This album sees both characters delivering the goods and some fine classic style AOR moments. A ballad or two would have been thoroughly welcomed and the programming aspect is a little predictable in places, but with a knock out vocal performance such as this and some soaring choruses, I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with this release.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Baptism By Fire

Line Up:
· Fergie Frederiksen: Vocals
· Tommy Denander: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards & Programming
· Eric Z Daniel: Drums

Essential For Fans Of:
· Fergie Frederiksen
· Tommy Denander
· Radioactive
Track Listing
· Let Him Go *
· Right Heart, Wrong Time *
· Silver Lining
· Crossing Over *
· Written In Stone *
· Saving Grace
· Baptism By Fire *
· Can't Get Enough
· Never Try To Love Again *
· Dead End
· Keep A Light On
· Left With Nothing *

--*Best Tracks


21/11/08: Laurent - jazzhard@hotmail.com
Rating: 87
I am not a big fan of voices like Fergie's in general. I like bluesier sounding vocalist, even in the AOR genre. This being said, Fergie's vocals are excellent throughout and together with the underrated Frederiksen/Phillips album they are IMHO his best ever on record.

The production and overall playing is top notch and absolutely amazing considering the budget the guys must have worked with.

There are two stars on this album for me: 1) the songs. Really catchy but not cheesy with great chorus and 2) the guitar playing. Denander is one of the best rhythm player ever and he shows it big time on this record. His soli are inventive and intelligent.

Highly recommeded album.

23/08/07: Ian - icarus2@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 90
It's got Fergie Frederiksen and Tommy( although i've given up aor i'll still be on nearly every album released this year )Denander and that's all you need to know .

20/08/07: Axe-Machine - lisvanepanthers@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 90
Certainly an AOR highlight of this year. While it doesn't really offer anything new, there is no denying that songs like Silver Lining, Never Try To Love Again, Baptism By Fire and the utterly Toto-ish Left With Nothing are all truly classy affairs. Any fan of Toto's great Isolation album will et this stuff up...great record, and the best Fergie has produced for some time.

01/08/07: Billy T. - BillyRockingYou@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
Fergie Sounds GREAT!!! The only drawback for me is the music is so been done SO MANY times before. NOTHING original. The guitar sound is weak, and the programmed drums are lame as Hell. How could Fergie allow somebody to use programmed drums on an album of his? Typical Denander so he pulls the rating down to 75/100. Fergie though is wonderful on this album, buy it and ignore the lame ass production and music.

31/07/07: andras - stevevai@freemail.hu
Rating: 99
AOR album of the year!!! Great songs, good sound.

31/07/07: andras - stevevai@freemail.hu
Rating: 99
AOR album of the year!!! Great songs, good sound.

31/07/07: Tom - info@addicroom.de
Rating: 95
Another clear winner: Fantastic songs, great melodic vocals and top quality production. Highly recommended and really one of the AOR highlights of 2007 IMO.


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