|Starbreaker Love's Dying Wish||Frontiers Records|
The debut Starbreaker album turned some heads. It repositioned vocalist Tony Harnell into a new realm and set him up to continue a respected career outside the confines of what he was best known for in TNT.|
The heavier melodic metal direction suited Tony perfectly and the pairing of him and star guitarist Magnus Karlsson could not have been better.
Love's Dying Wish sees the band deliver a slightly different release, keeping the base that was the debut and adding some new elements.
Different yes, but just as good and perhaps even better. A revised line-up step up and place themselves well and truly on the international hard rock/metal landscape.
I love everything this album has to offer – it is even more diverse than the debut, it is darker and more aggressive and it has a monster sound that outshines the first album and the added production effects makes it very contemporary and open to a wide audience.
New bassist Jonni Lightfoot is all over this record, with a thumping beat that meshes with drummer John Macaluso to deliver an ear crunching rhythm section.
Magnus Karlsson is also a revelation. He has never sounded so heavy and aggressive, yet the riffs continue to help drive the melodies behind the songs.
The choice of a further tuned down contemporary sound again helps make this record a modern commercial hard rocking masterpiece. I'm not normally one to advocate the down-tuning of guitars, but in doing so on this record, the guys give themselves a whole new attitude that just sells itself.
Tony Harnell has also made the interesting choice of delivering more vocals in a lower register, with a menacing rasp at times, making those trademark higher pitch melodies and squeals even more effective and powerful when they arrive. And there are plenty of them…but they are used to blow the songs apart with soaring vocal lines rather than drive the song that way from the start.
And the constant use of harmonies throughout only helps these choruses stick in your head. The strength of songwriting is what really makes this album a revelation.
There simply are no secondary songs – every track is a winner and the ones with seemingly less melodic drive are perfect foil for the songs that follow and in their own way have embedded melodies that grow on you with time, showing the true depth of the material here.
Hard to pick out highlights here as every track has a melody and a good chorus and some songs have different roles to play.
The punishing modern metal vibe of the opening two songs End Of Alone and Evaporate set up the tone of the album and allow the fabulously intense and dramatic Love's Dying Wish to blow through the speakers. The chorus here is classic Tony Harnell.
Unknown Superstar is as catchy as Tony Harnell can be.
Live Your Life has a thumping beat, a menacing vocal and another magnificent chorus; Evaporate has a dark tone mixed with an uplifting riff which makes for a great listen; Changes Me is simply phenomenal. The moody intro building to a thumping beat and a gigantic chorus which makes this one of the songs of the year for me.
Building A Wall has a subtle melody that grows with each listen and This Close is a powerful ending to a powerful album.
There is a lot going on here and the more contemporary direction might not appeal to some, but at the heart of this album are some killer songs and killer performances. This is a world class hard rock record. Bring on album #3!
include("f-review.p3"); retrieve("sb-ldw",0,1); ?>