|Ken Tamplin Wake The Nations||Now & Then Records|
Not another great album? Yes, I'm afraid so. I've been a fan of Ken's work since Shout, with many other fans going back even earlier than that.|
I've always found Ken makes some killer tunes, but not always killer albums. But this album contains more killer tunes than any other album to date and is therefore, in my mind, Ken's best album ever.
There's 18 tracks on offer here, plus a bonus CD containing 2 videos. That's a lot to chew through and to be honest, it could have been edited a little to maybe 12 tracks. That's my only issue. The upshot is that it's great value for money and even better, contains more than an album's worth of killer songs.
In my mind tracks 1 through 8 are utterly essential in the collection any melodic rock fan. Thereafter it's a little hit and miss, with 7 Eleven People, Livin' Large, Freedom, Sing and Come Together my personal favourites and all featuring more strong hooks.
There are plenty of guitar solo's on offer, with guests like Jeff Watson, Kee Marcello, Doug Aldrich, Reb Beach, Richie Kotzen, Marty Friedman, Pete Lesperance and Scot Van Zen all joining in with band guitarist Howie Simon.
But let's takle a look at those earlier tracks:
The Story Of Love is an uptempo hard rocker featuring guest vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, who provides a great partner to Ken. Lots of big guitars, a strong chorus and some fine Hammond organ for good measure.
We've Jihad Enough has a cool rock groove to it, with some vocal effects used to good measure in places. The lyrics are biting and the chorus is memorable without being in your face.
Falling Houses is a big heavy rocker and features a huge guitar sound and some impressive lead vocals. A strong chorus hook makes it one of the best rockers on the album.
The Man With A Plan features a more relaxed vibe and a soft lead vocal, plus a groovy chorus hook that comes and goes pretty smoothly.
Hare Kristians is pretty much a straight up melodic pop/rocker, but features an excellent hook filled chorus that makes it one of the album's most memorable.
Wake The Nations rocks things up again, with a faster tempo and a more in your face lead vocal. The chorus is also more in your face and offers a good variation on some other tracks.
God In Heaven is a slow semi-rock, semi-ballad track. Features some more strong hooks.
Peace On Earth is an uptempo feel good track that is fairly stripped back musically, but is driven by a strong lead vocal and chorus hook.
From here the standard drops just a little, but Livin' Large and 7 Eleven People return the album to great form.
I think folks will have their favourites amongst the album's 18 tracks, but in any regard, there will easily be an album's worth of material to please most.
I also respect the way Ken manages to write Christian messages into his songs without preaching. The songs on Wake The Nations are all strong in their devotion, but also look at social issues, personal belief's and political topics - all in an intelligent and easily understandable way.
The album is also very well produced, with a clear sharp sound and an even mix throughout.
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