|Ramos Living In The Light||Frontiers Records|
Guitarist Josh Ramos breaks out on his own and delivers his solo debut with the new band Ramos.|
Fans of Josh will know him from hs work in The Storm and Two Fires and will instantly be familiar with his love of Journey-esque melodies and definite Neal Schon flare to his playing style.
Ramos continues on from his previous two bands with more feel good songs delivered in traditional AOR style, albeit with a little extra punch than we have heard previously from Josh.
This is as melodic as it comes, but being in control of his own direction has seen Josh expand the role of the guitar within the songs, making this a tasty prospect for those that like their AOR a little heavier.
Singer Mark Weitz is a definite discovery, performing with a smooth and wide range that matches that of Steve Perry and those others that are always being compared to the great vocalist.
But once again, not everything is super smooth – some of Mark's vocals have an added ingredient that gives the music a grittier edge.
Adding further goodwill to this already positive review is the news that the production is very good indeed. Certainly above average compared to many other releases in this genre that suffer from small budgets.
The songwriting on Living In The Light first rate – with plenty of memorable hooks, choruses and extra bridges to sink ones teeth into.
Living In The Light is the prefect opening track. It moves quickly from the extended intro into a big chorus and mirrors the vibe of the last Journey album Arrival. A strong Perry-like vocal and some tasty guitar parts makes this song a sure fire hit.
Don't Go offers an immediate change of pace, which works well in this case. This moody rock ballad features some fine piano courtesy of Russ Greene, which is joined by a solid guitar riff and another big chorus hook.
Winds Of Change sees the album return to the uptempo feel good vibe of the opening track. This 6-minute plus track really works and is possibly the album's best track, due to the strong vocal and the huge verse-bridge- chorus path. Perfect AOR.
Seize The Day continues the fast-paced ride set by the last track. Weitz has a strong Steve Augeri vibe about him on this track, which Journey fans should easily relate to.
The Dream Is Alive is the album's big power ballad. Fans of The Storm will adore this track, with another very strong melodic vocal and a soaring chorus. Lighters-in-the-air time.
Tell Me Why is another 6-minute plus track. I could live without the haunting spoken-word intro, but aside from that, the slow guitar solo shines, as does the song itself. This is one of the more gritty, harder edge tunes that I spoke of earlier. Lots of guitars, solid chorus and another album highlight.
Come Back To Me features some great keyboard work, which lays the song's foundation. It features a solid guitar riff, but the chorus on this one doesn't rate as highly with me. Night Has Fallen is another tougher, uptempo guitar drive track. The chorus is solid enough, but it's more a melodic rock guitar lovers track.
Love Is the Magic is a slow AOR ballad that offers a nice change of pace and offers another excuse to get the lighters out.
Take It Or Leave It rocks. That's it – simple! This track features a great fast vocal over a frantic beat and is one of the more uptempo numbers Josh has been involved in. Another album highlight.
You're So Far Away is much as the title suggests – a mid-tempo ballad. Without being instantly memorable, it's a solid track.
Closing the album is the instrumental track Willie. Again clocking in over 6 minutes, the song features Josh at his best, talking his time to deliver a tasteful slow passionate Schon-like solo. An enjoyable track – more so for fans of solo guitar.
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