January 27, 2023



SKILLS – Different Worlds (2022)

If you are look for something special from the sum of the ingredients, sadly it falls completely flat.

The Frontiers Records’ patented Random Band Generator was put into action once again, this time spitting out three new rock star names to be partnered together in another silly name project and dished out to the masses, with songs all written by Frontiers’ current favourite writers.

This week’s band is SKILLS and it features bass legend Billy Sheehan, guitar legend Brad Gillis and fan favourite drummer David Huff. On vocals is Brazilian singer Renan Zonta (Electric Mob), a guy with a huge set of lungs, but the least appealing look. Especially up against the other 3 guys. Big voice, but hardly distinct – he’s from the Ronnie Romero school of raspiness and not really suited to this project.

With a lineup like this, you could be forgiven for expecting something truly special. But there is nothing organic or magic about these projects and the way they are assembled gives no room for chemistry or natural comradery to grow. Especially when the band aren’t given the opportunity to write any material themselves. It’s just a paycheck to play a set of songs delivered by the label. Like one of many.

I’d be surprised if any of them met during this whole process. The videos and lineup pictures are pasted together to look natural, but they’re far from it. But that’s just the way it is and as long as the buying public accepts it, they’ll keep coming.

Production and keyboards come from Alessandro Del Vecchio. The mix is fairly even, but the sound lacks punch and once again, Frontiers Records have a huge issue with overall sound and song blandness and the lack of a killer drum sound.

There’re 4 or 5 great songs here, but there are more that simply slip by without much notice. I’ve played this record a lot in the last week or so and I probably won’t go back to it now the review is done.

The album is expertly played, that was never going to be in doubt, that’s what you get when you pay for the likes of Sheehan/Gillis & Huff. But the individual personalities of these great musicians rarely shine through. If you are going to hype a band on its members, then those members better stand out.

On all but 3 or 4 tracks, anyone could have been on bass here and I only hear Brad Gillis really break out of his shell a few times. Drums I’ve already mentioned as an issue with most of these projects.

I think the two songs released to date have been pretty average to be honest – there are better within the album.

But this isn’t Mr. Big or Night Ranger. It’s not a whole world away from the sound of the new Giant record or Revolution Saints or any of the other manufactured supergroups of late. It doesn’t have the personality of either of those bands, nor its own identity.

Fans must accept it as another European sounding hard rock project from the Frontiers production mill. Do that and you’ll probably enjoy it. Look for something special from the sum of the ingredients and it falls completely flat.