|Lou Gramm Band The Lou Gramm Band||Frontiers Records|
The great Lou Gramm returns after far too long in the recording wilderness. A great many things have happened in Lou's life since he was last heard on CD and even more so since he last fronted Foreigner.|
There was his departure from the band; a life-threatening brain tumor and recovery from that; getting his voice back in shape and along the way he also became a born again Christian.
Lou Gramm is a survivor and it is with this new Lou Gramm Band line-up and CD that he re-launches his recording career and firmly stamps his new beliefs at the very heart of the record.
This is in every way a Christian rock album, with the lyrical theme consistent and prominent throughout. Some may take issue with that, as there are many Christian recording artists out there that write lyrics with far more subtlety (Giant, Guardian, Jim Peterik), but at the same time you have to respect Lou for the direction he has taken here. He obviously believes very strongly in his faith and part of his return to the scene is bringing that message to old and new fans alike.
The lyrical theme does affect my listening preferences for this record. It is not off-putting at all, as I find some of the lyrics very inspiring and uplifting. But I would say that due to the nature of the record, for me it is very much a mood thing. I need to be in a certain mood for it and when I am, I happily listen to Lou's message and get enjoyment from it.
Vocally speaking, this record surprised me to be honest. Due to the much publicized debate over the quality of Lou's live vocals over the last few years, I wasn't necessarily expecting too much of this record.
While Lou does sound different than his heyday and certainly carries a gruffer delivery, he also manages to throw in some classic Gramm vocals in each song and his trademark tone is definitely recognizable.
The songs themselves again surprised somewhat. I expected a more laid back record given the nature of the material, but this little record rocks!
The songs aren't too far from the Lou Gramm/Foreigner style we know and love and the new band delivers some convincing performances, lead by much respected guitarist Don Mancuso. Talking songs - Baptized By Fire could have slotted into either of the two classic Gramm solo albums as could the groove laden Made To Be Broken.
The very melodic Willing To Forgive features a nice hook and That's The Way God Planned It is a really superb inspirational ballad.
(I Wanna) Testify doesn't grab me so much while remaining a good uptempo number, but the track Redeemer grinds on my ears big time.
Lodged in-between those two tracks is the superb dark mid-tempo rocker So Great.
Single Vision is a terrific happy go lucky pop/rock tune, while some necessary grit and classic Gramm is present on Rattle Your Bones.
Perhaps track of the album is the monster ballad You Saved Me, which closes the album. Absolutely amazing chorus and some inspirational vocal and musical orchestration lifts the track even higher in the latter stages.
It's Not Too Late is a European Bonus Track, but I am yet to hear that so can't comment.
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