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Fatal Vision – Once

Fatal Vision
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 July 2022, 6:44 AM

FATAL VISION may be a new name in the rock scene today, however the band was born back when Hard Rock ruled MTV and every arena from coast to coast. Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, Simon Marwood and fellow founding members Chris Hirsekorn and Howie Manderson combined their love for famous AOR bands to bring a refreshing sound to melodic rock. But life can bring unexpected changes, and FATAL VISION was put into park. Fast forward to 2019, and Marwood received an unexpected birthday gift to record at a local studio. Instead of following the well-trodden path of recording a cover song, he dusted off his numerous notebooks of songs from decades past. With the blessing of the original members, these sessions saw the FATAL VISION machine roar suddenly back to life.

Some critics would argue that the main trouble with the AOR genre is that there is very little out there that is new or original. If you lived through the 70’s and 80’s like I did, you grew up on BOSTON, JOURNEY, and countless other big arena bands with that melodic rock sound they now call AOR. While much of the music remains accessible and, by its very nature, is smooth and melodic, with sing along choruses, a band in this genre has to fight hard to make an original album. But, one could also argue that this the case in nearly every genre of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. My thoughts? I say cast this convention aside, and just enjoy the music, for that is the very essence of AOR.

The best cuts? The tender and charming soul of “Open Your Eyes,” with a heavy keyboard presence and lasting chorus, the positive and emotionally moving tones of “Little Rebel,” with a care-free attitude of days gone by, the poignant and reminiscent tones heavy in “Do You Remember Me,” with vocals high in the range, the pure emotional joy of “Haven’t We Been Here Before,” which features a faster moving song with a crunchy guitar riff, the acoustical guitars in “Time Keep Slipping Away,” which might be the quintessential track on the album, considering the long dormant time of the band and their revival, and the strong closing tones of “Once,” which ties the story together with “it’s been a hell of a ride,” and “thank you for being by my side.

Not being familiar with the band before today, mostly because of my ethnocentrism back then, I found the revival to be pretty good. The band sounds as if you might expect them to after such a long hiatus, picking back up right where they left off and making an album that they are happy with. My one critique might be that if they would have pushed themselves a little further, and out of their comfort zone, the album could have been better.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. In The Beginning/Heartbreaker
2. Burning for You
3. Open Your Eyes
4. Into the Twilight
5. Little Rebel
6. Against the Wall
7. Do You Remember Me?
8. Wings of the Night
9. Haven’t We Been Here Before?
10. Time Keeps Slipping Away
11. Once
Simon Marwood
Chris Hirsekorn
Howie Manderson
Andrew Burns
Juan Miguel Gomez Montant
Scottie Irving
Alex Wickham
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music


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