Vertigo Vertigo Frontiers Records
FRCD 167
· Produced By: Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi

· Running Time: 55.07

· Release Date: October 20

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers
Songs: 94%
Sound: 98%
Vertigo is the new vehicle for former Toto vocalist Joseph Williams which sees him returning to melodic rock duties after a far too long gap between this and his last solo album – some 6 years ago.
Joseph has been off earning (a far more lucrative) living working in LA on film and TV soundtracks, but was convinced by Frontiers to take part in a new album with a tougher and heavier rock edge.
Joining Williams in Vertigo is famed and much sort after LA based producer Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi (who also plays bass, rhythm guitars, keyboards and adds the album's sampling, programming and loops), former Dokken guitarist and solo performer Alex De Rosso, Biggs Brice (drums) and JM Scattolin (additional guitars). Rounding out the line up is Francis Benitez, who provides backing vocals.
Vertigo is heavier than any other album Williams has sung on before. It's guitar driven melodic hard rock and sees the singer really put through his paces. It's such a welcomed change from his very Westcoast AOR solo albums and is easily his best work outside the Toto albums Seventh One and Fahrenheit.
In fact, I rank this album number 2 behind The Seventh One.
Vertigo really rocks. Thanks to a very tight and contemporary production sound from Grossi and some inspired lead guitar from De Rosso, the album packs a powerful punch and ranks as one of the year's best pure melodic rock releases and one of the best from the Frontiers label.
The added production effects, teamed with Williams' traditional AOR style vocals, means this album has a classic feel to appeal to all traditional melodic rock fans, but with an updated sound.
Several guest songwriters are involved, but at the crux of several of the album's songs is Williams long time partner Joey Carbone.
Track By Track:
The opening track sets the tone of the album, with a direct, guitar driven approach that's both tougher and heavier than Williams work alongside Steve Lukather. Interestingly, the best song doesn't open the album, but Not Enough Hours In The Night is still right up there. The song is penned by Jim Peterik/Matt Thornton and features a chorus that evolves with repeated listens. Initial playback might disappoint, but it's a song that develops into an album favourite and suits Joseph's voice to a tee.
Straight To Your Heart is possibly the album's best track, with a pure melodic rock approach, updated due to some progressive production effects. Written by Carbone, the song features a catchy verse and an instantly memorable chorus which takes the song up a notch or two and sees Williams really delivering his vocals with some gusto.
His voice sounds a little gruff in places, but I love the conviction of his delivery and the overall power of the song.
More Than Enough is a mid-tempo rock ballad that features more fine lead guitar by De Rosso. This is a moody and powerful rock ballad, with some seriously good guitar playing throughout and as the song progresses, an increasingly tough sounding Williams.
Never Let You Go is a first rate uptempo rocker. Written by Stuart Smith, the song bounds along beautifully with a real feel good vibe. I love the use of vocal effects for the song's bridge, before a huge AOR chorus bursts through, with female backing vocals adding extra texture.
I Don't Want To Go is one of the album's big ballads and is perfect for Joseph Williams. Featuring a big chorus and big hook, the song should rate as a fan favourite, fitting the style of Williams solo albums perfectly – if not just that little bit heavier.
I Want To Be Wanted is a cover of the classic Dan Lucas track. While Lucas' version is near perfect, this version gives it a run for its money. With an updated production and a very Steve Lukather feel to it. This version is a little heavier; with Williams really getting stuck into the song the longer it goes. China Sky is a more laid back track and closest in style to his solo albums, with a more bubbly pop/AOR feel to it. A catchy chorus is the song's best asset.
Love Is Blind is another different track. Dominated by a strong guitar riff, the album features a darker vibe and a chorus that isn't instantly likable, but grows with repeated listens.
When It Doesn't Matter is a pure pop track, with an easy going vibe and a chorus that comes and goes quickly.
Sarah is a cover of a Paul Alan song from the Christian singer's debut album Falling Awake – released last year. This is another more pop styled track that Williams makes his own with a strong vocal performance. It's an ok track, but not an album highlight.
Vertigo is an interesting track. Not everyone's going to like this, but I think it's cool. The song is written by David Tyson and is the toughest vocal track of the album, while also being the moodiest and least traditional as far as structure, No big chorus here, just a strong and heavy slow to mid tempo rock track.
More Than Enough is an acoustic remix that's exclusive for Europe. The track is varied nicely here and slightly extended. A soft, but moody version that ends the album quite well and is a nice contrast to the intensity of the title track.
The Bottom Line
Fans of Joseph Williams might need to take the contents of this album in over a few listens before casting judgment. It's a little different for him and a lot tougher than his previous records, but is held together by some fine songs, wonderful production quality and a prefect performance by those others involved.
While comparisons due to Williams' vocals can be made, one of the best things about this album is that it isn't a cash in on his former glory with Toto.
This is his own project and I suspect a welcomed one for fans of solid melodic hard rock fans that just love a good melody, a strong singer and some hard edged guitar tracks.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Joseph Williams
· I Am Alive
· 3
· Vertigo

Line Up
· Joseph Williams: Vocals
· Alex De Rosso: Guitar
· Biggs Brice: Drums
· Fabrizio: Bass. Programming, Guitars, Keyboards, Samples
· Francis Benitez: Backing Vocals
· JM Scattolin:Additional Guitars

Essential for fans of:
· Joseph Williams
· Toto - The Seventh One
Track Listing
· Not Enough Hours In the Night*
· Straight To Your Heart*
· More Than Enough
· Never Let You Go*
· I Don't Want To Go*
· I Want To Be Wanted
· China Sky
· Love Is Blind
· When It Doesn't Matter
· Sarah
· Vertigo
· More Than Enough – Acoustic Remix
--*Best Tracks

25/12/05: stephane -
Rating: 100
Joseph is wonderful, it's a typical westcoast album!
"the seventh one "album is , for me, the best album of joseph and Toto,.
Take care of you Joseph

31/07/04: Ian -
Rating: 92
Top quality AOR sung,played and produced to a high level.Well worth owning and impressing the neighbours on hot days.

24/06/04: guillermo -
Rating: 75
Un album que para mi ha pasado totalmente desapercibido aunque reconozco que me gusta cuando lo escucho es quizas demasiado AOR y cuesta coger el hilo de las canciones un poco desestructuradas.

27/05/04: Chewsmoka -
Rating: 97
Only after a few listens was I able to rate this as high as I have. Yes, there are some hokey sounding things in some of the songs but overall just a godd CD to listen thru and thru. However, the title track is just a blip on the radar, just not that good, and China Sky is great, but the lyrics are trippy, it's like they were written at 4 in the morning going on 24 hours with no sleep and having to have it done by 5AM. Overall, just short of brilliant.

05/12/03: quentin blondino -
Rating: 90
Very good music included in this cd, and my global vote at the entire album is 90. But: the song More Than Enough is destined to be the N.1 of my 2003 Top Aor Favourites!!! At N.2 Pride of Lions-Music and Me (i love that song because it reminds me something about the Peterik classic "Popular Girl", dated 1984),
at N.3 Styx-These are the Times.
Great year for Aor...

13/11/03: Steve -
Rating: 80
A good CD but as the reviewer below hints, some of the songs are distinctly average. This will satisfy all Joseph fans, but it is not the be all & end all of AOR albums.

09/11/03: RES -
Rating: 75
After all the good comments, I was excited about this release. Indeed, Joseph Williams sounds good, and the instrumental production is strong in the AOR tradition. That said, I found the songs somewhat boring - sort of AOR-by-numbers. There are hooks there for sure, but there aren't any songs that measure up to Joseph's work on the Toto albums or even this "Three" album. With that in mind, I see this as a little bit of a disappointment. I think it would have been better with Joseph Williams' own writing contributions. Kudos to the guitarist, who does a nice job throughout.

08/11/03: Antonio V. -
Rating: 98
I'll always loved the voice tone of Joseph.It's great to hear him again with this classic AOR type of material,it's not exactly Toto sound but it's very good.Some fantastic themes,"more than enough" it's my favorite,killer chorus,"straight to your heart" another AOR gem,fantastic stuff...I like some of the modern/nu breed material, but classic AOR it's more my cup of tea, and this year we're having some terrific albums in this field...enjoy them like i do!!

29/10/03: Lars -
Rating: 99
I love this record, I love the voice of Joeseph. It's great to hear him in that kind of music again. Hope there will be more. After all forecasts to this album I've expected a more Toto-like Album, but this is just great. Hope to hear him soon again.!

05/10/03: René -
Rating: 100
Well guys here is the deal. Joseph congrats this is just a perfect beauty. Being a life time Toto fan and still trying to hang in there through COVER CRAP release your cd comes as a very big surprise. Joseph thx for the chat at Park in Denmark when you played here during the Toto XX show. I was the guy with the Totoawards invited backstage and you wrote on my awards as well thx for the evening. I still find it unbeliable that you where not invited to tour and be a part of Toto after the 4 XX shows. Now looking back Joseph you where the lucky one. Vertigo is the best "toto" record THEY have not released since you where in the band. I know that things happend way back then but I allways loved you in Toto and I actually thought you lost your voice but I hear it more intact since 1988. The vertigo cd can´t come in a better time than now. I think the cd is from start to finish a pearl filled with strong song writing and wonderfull guitar work supplyed with Josphes wonderfull voice back in shape. I really hope that this is just the beginning. We fans want a fullblown vertigo tour starting out here in Denmark. We want a DVD and live cd. Joseph please keep the momentum and hang in there. Don´t hide anymore you have managed to release the best work from a AOR artist related with Toto and even beating the crap out of all Toto´s releases since you left/got the sack....
Take care of your self and take yourself on the road... I will be there. By the way China sky is one my all time top 10 song list
Best regards to you and your loved ones.



Best wishes

René Hansen

04/10/03: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 89
These are the records I'm living for. Pure class ! Great singing, brilliant keyboards (oh, so important for an AOR fan !!), superb songs and top players + a decent production ! Together with Ramos (which I gave 85, but that deserves as much as this one, sorry Ramos, it's corrected here !) and Newman one of the best releases of the year so far ! If I compare this to all that nu-breed stuff, then I know why this is class and nu-breed is crap ! Listen and judge ! This is even better than the Toto records, no kidding ! And say that we still have Pride Of Lions, Perfect World and Double Cross coming in the near future !BRILLIANT !!!

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100)