ALLIANCE - Fire And Grace
SCORE - 93%
Most should be aware of my admiration for all-star melodic rockers Alliance. The pitch perfect AOR vocals of Robert Berry are always welcome, but when he teams with David Lauser (Sammy Hagar) and class guitarist Gary Pihl (Boston, Sammy Hagar), there’s no stopping the flow of intelligent, well-crafted and challenging melodic rock music. Fire And Grace is no different.
Although a little rougher around the edges this time around, the album (minus past member Alan Fitzgerald) delivers the same classic sounding album you might expect. Berry provides all keyboard parts this time. While the album is melodic rock and AOR with a prog twist at its best and harkens back to a simpler era of the early 80s, the sound isn’t dated – its just classic. There are some stupidly good songs here.
The driving opener Don’t Stop The Wheel Turning; the feel good anthemic 80s buzz of Good Life and the epic, mood driven dramatic ballad Uncertain all give the album a flying start. Elsewhere the rhythmic free flowing Fire And Grace; hands in the air Raise Your Glass and the AOR perfection of Reason To Walk Away are all standouts amongst an album lacking any sign of filler.
Alliance have delivered one of the best AOR albums of the year so far, with track after track of engaging, intelligent songwriting here. No Alliance album has ever been a one-play and understand affair. They require a little effort and a little time, with the listening richly rewarded with layers upon layers of musical melody and brilliance. (93%)