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RADIOACTIVE
CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE

MTM Music 0681-32
Produced by: Tommy Denander

Released: July 16 / Website
Closest Relative: Toto, Prisoner
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 90%

  1. The Story Of Love
  2. Crimes Of Passion
  3. On My Own
  4. Grace
  5. Waiting For A Miracle
  6. LA Movies
  7. Ceremony Of Innocence
  8. Liquid
  9. Haunt Me Tonight
  10. A Case Of Right Or Wrong
  11. Silent Cries
  12. When You're In Love

Radioactive is the project name given to Swedish guitarist, producer and songwriter Tommy Denander's latest project.
But to call it his latest project doesn't do justice to the work put into this, nor the line up or the effort in getting it released. This is top class music in every way.
The project came about after Tommy was signed to Sony and headed to LA to record an album with the guys he knew in Toto. Those sessions took place, but were not ready for release by the time Sony had a change of heart. Tommy vowed to finish the record in his own time and release it only when he was ready and comfortable with the results. Here it is!
Tommy should be well pleased with the results, as with other fans of his work and new coverts alike. Those that have no warmed to his other projects may well find a lot to like in Radioactive, as the production and song quality is somewhat different and very strong.
In the liner notes, Tommy says that this album might be heavier than some expect. Compared to recent albums, it is. But I have heard Tommy rock out and this isn't far removed from what any follower of Tommy's music would expect. This is definitely more AOR than his more recent Westcoast dominated records.
There are some rocking numbers and plenty of flashy guitar parts, but the smooth sounds of Westcoast at it's finest is what will make the biggest impression with listeners when enjoying this.
Tommy also says in the excellent liner notes, that this album features some of the finest talent available in this genre - absolutely! Spot on.
Please note - there are almost drum machines on this record! The majority of the percussion was recorded by the great Jeff Porcaro before his untimely death.
The Story Of Love features lead vocals by Geir Gronning. The track matches the pair's previous work on Prisoner, although the song itself it a step up from their recent album.
Crimes Of Passion features the great Bobby Kimball on vocals. The track rocks along nicely, boy, can the boy sing! Nice to hear Bobby stretch himself out on a more rock edged number.
One of my favorite vocalists in rock is the featured lead on On My Own. Fergie Frederiksen adds his own flare to this uptempo AOR pop rocker with a great hook and a definite Toto Isolation feel to it.
Grace is a very softly atmospheric ballad. Featuring Kristoffer Largerstrom on lead and Geir Ronning on back ground vocals, the song also features the amazing line up of Michael Thompson, Randy Goodrum and David Foster. Westcoast heaven is found.
Waiting For A Miracle features another musical giant on vocals - Chicago's Jason Scheff. This is another first class Westcoast track, with a very smooth production and a sound similar again to Sayit & Rainmaker, just a lot more polished.
And if you think it sounds remarkably like Toto at their soft pop best, you would be right. Players on this track include Jeff, Mike & Steve Porcaro, plus David Paich and Bruce Gaitsch.
LA Movies features Jason up front again and another Toto great - Joseph Williams on backing vocals. Another first rate, A1 Westcoast track as smooth as anything Chicago or Toto have ever recorded in this vein.
The title track sees Fergie back. Ceremony Of Innocence swings away from the soft Westcoast sounds of the last few tracks, to return to a tougher rock sound. Fergie's perfectly suited of course. This is a somewhat complex track, with a dark, moody feel and a changing tempo.
Liquid is a jazzy / funky instrumental track featuring an all start line up of Jeff & Mike Porcaro, Vince DiCola, Dean Parks & more...
Haunt Me Tonight is straight back to soft Westcoast mode. No wonder, it features Geir Ronning on vocals and Westcoast king Bruce Gaitsch on all instruments, except for Tommy's guitar playing. And yes, if you were wondering, it is the same song that Bruce released as a solo single a year or so ago. A wonderful soft romantic song, with a very soulful vocal.
A Case Of Right Or Wrong features the legendary Fee Waybill on vocals. The great survivor of rock n roll sounds in fine form on this fired up rock number. In fact I had to check the credits twice, as I swear it sounded like Steve Lukather on guitar. No, just Tommy Denander playing his ass off. A good rock song to up the tempo of the album at a good point.
Silent Cries keeps the tempo up and rolling along. This is a softer Westcoast/AOR number featuring vocalist Jim Jidhed.
When You're In Love features a return performance from Bobby Kimball. This classy guy is all over this track - another uptempo AOR number.
The last few songs of the album really have things on a roll. This is the tempo that maybe could have been more beneficial running near the top of the album. But to have a strong finish is important also and this album sure does.
Track 13 is...well, track 13 is a surprise bonus track, so I will leave something for you to find out!
BOTTOM LINE: Plain and simple this is Tommy Denander's finest work in a catalogue of many different projects. For fans of Tommy's sound, this will be a favourite for a long time, as it really does gather all of his passions into one record.
Those that haven't found his distinctive musical sound favorable, but like the artists mentioned here and have a penchant for the music of Toto would be advised to check this out, as it is a great body of work.
PRODUCTION: 90% SONGS: 92% VIBE: 85%ATTITUDE: 93%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Denander's previous projects, fans of Toto and high-tech AOR and Westcoast fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Prisoner; Sayit; Talk Of The Town; Rainmaker; Radioactive



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