Frontiers / Now & Then
Produced by: Terry Brock

Released: June 28 / Website
Relatives: Strangeways, The Sign

  1. Audio Life Dream
  2. I Wanna Love Someone
  3. Up All Night
  4. Native Sons
  5. Waiting
  6. I Should've Known
  7. Back To Eden
  8. Forever Now
  9. Your Man Again
  10. Light Of The Moon
  11. Another Chance
  12. We Invented Love
  13. Coming Home
  14. Fire On The Bayou*
* Japan Bonus Track
Terry Brock is one of rock's great survivors. It's hard to believe that this is his first solo album, but thankfully it's here and won't be his last.
As I said in the album's liner notes (thanks for the opportunity Terry & Frontiers), he has made a career making others look good, singing backing vocals, and fronting a couple of great bands in Strangeways and The Sign. Now he gets to look good for his own project and sound good he does.
I am a big fan of Terry and of course, on some occasions it is hard to be objective! But giving this album a great review has been too easy.
This is an essential purchase for any fans of this genre - pure ballad driven melodic rock.
This is one of those albums I hear and know instantly why I love this style of music.
Helping out on Back To Eden is a bunch of Terry's mates - Jim Peterik, Joe Lynn Turner, Randy Jackson, Mark Mangold and Billy Greer. The band for this project comprises of Teddy Cook (guitars, bass), Andy Bigan (drums), Frank Fogerty (keys) and guitarist Lee Day.
This is pure AOR in it's best form - a mixture of ballads and moody hook driven soft rock.
The style is very much a softer example of the sound of The Sign, mixed into a blend of Strangeways, Journey and something new.
Audio Life Dream is a very cool way to intro an album. A synthesized voice trails through the background while we hear the briefest of song samples from past albums Terry has been involved in. See if you can pick them all. It then launches itself into the opening track I Wanna Love Someone. Another interesting way to open an album, as the track is not the typical uptempo anthem many choose to start with. rather it's a heartfelt mid-tempo AOR track that uses the strength of Terry's voice to carry it.
Up All Night offers another great change of pace after two pure AOR numbers. This is a catchy as hell track featuring Terry's band mates from The Sign. And typical of the style of their album Signs Of Life, this slightly progressive anthem rocker could easily have been lifted from that album.
The song finishes with a fantastic and original dialogue from Yankees baseballer Michael Kay, who basically uses his time to rub Terry's nose in the fact the Yankees keep winning and Terry's beloved Atlanta Braves keep losing. Hilarious!
Native Sons picks up the tempo again into rocker mode, with a big melodic number written in tribute to his days as vocalist with Strangeways. That's right, it isn't an old tune, but a new one written as homage to his old band. Once again Terry's voice is at full tilt.
Waiting is a wonderfully warm an inviting mid tempo moody pop ballad. The warmth in Terry's voice and the subtle chorus make this one of the most memorable AOR masterpieces in recent times. I Should've Known is the first proper power ballad of the album. Complete with soft piano intro and a soulful power vocal, this song builds from a solid base to a big, rousing and emotion filled chorus that will have even the hardest hearts singing along. Basically it's a bloody great ballad for all fans of pure AOR.
Back To Eden picks up the pace a little. The title track is more in the vein of the classic Strangeways material, soft lead guitars underneath a booming lead vocal. The chorus is memorable and singable, making sure this track is a highlight.
Forever Now keeps the pace flying along with another uptempo track. This time it's a little less guitar dominated and more vocal driven, with a great lead providing most of the songs hooks and melodies. Only great singers can pull this off. Your Man Again slows the pace down again a little. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. What we have here is a real sultry and emotional pop ballad. There are other ballads on the album, but all in varying styles. This one has power, raw emotion and real feeling, but all in a subtle way. It's not an over the top power ballad by any means.
Light Of The Moon is a really cool track. Driven by a hard-edged guitar riff and very slow and moody for the verse, the song bursts into a power ballad styled anthem chorus with a really smooth yet powerful vocal. A very cool track. Another Chance is anther fabulous mid-tempo rock ballad with all the emotion and power of any Steve Perry track. This man has one seriously large set of lungs and they are used to capacity on this track.
We Invented Love is another uptempo rock anthem in the vein of Native Sons. A good fun uptempo rocker with a pure AOR heart. Regulation hooks and harmonies thankfully are in place.
Finishing off the album is fine style is Coming Home, a medium paced song that is both moody pop rocker and AOR anthem. More great lead vocals drive the track, that is completed by the appearance of some bagpipes and a rousing la la la sing a long chorus. Perfect melodic rock.
The Japanese bonus track Fire On The Bayou is a tougher and slightly more harder edge track, with hints of Terry's southern upbringing shining through. It's not my favorite track on the album, but it is a change of song pace.
BOTTOM LINE: At that folks, is what this is - perfect AOR. The songwriting on Back To Eden is heavenly and second to none as far as melodic rock goes. As far as the songs go, this album is up there quality wise with that of Journey's Arrival. The major difference is the production quality. Arrival has a recording budget of US$250,000, this has a budget of less than one tenth that. The songs shine through, but it would have been even better to hear the same sharp snap in the sound, as the Journey guys were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to have.
But this is primarily a vocal record. Terry's voice rules the record with dominance and precision. With any luck he will still become a household name. In the meantime the melodic rock community should immediately adopt him as an international treasure.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Just about every fan of pure ballad driven melodic rock. Fans of The Sign.
DISCOGRAPHY:Strangeways; Le Roux; The Sign

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