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FM - Rockville II

Rockville II
by YngwieViking at 21 March 2013, 10:35 PM

If you checked my review for “Rockville”, you’ll may already know that I was seduced, to say the least, by this platter, a real victorious album. As an old fan it had fulfilled all my expectations. You may also already had noticed that the band is riding a fast lane since their second coming in 2007, and that they keep an unconditional fidelity to their own legendary sound, a real focus in playing their Classic Melodic rock and they never failed to give maximum pleasure to their devoted fans and to the little AOR planet!

Originally only available as part of a two-CD “Rockville” bonus-package exclusively available thru a short time for the PledgeMusic collect, “Rockville II” features ten new recordings, nine of which are new songs. The album also includes a new rendition of ''High" as the opening track, which was originally recorded for the "Brass Monkey" album by SO! featuring Steve Overland and Pete Jupp. This version is a great way to gave a new birth to that beautiful number, with the correct FM treatment that was applied to it, this song alone is worth the buying of the album!

Early this month, the UK-based AOR band FM have announced that due to the amount of interest generated in “Rockville II”, this album will now also get a standalone release. I was one of many Pledgers, who helped the band raise funds via the Internet campaign to produce the whole record project adventure called "Rockville", so my perspective on this version is a mixed bag of contradictory emotions along with some confused thoughts. But I love it!

Now, the real questions are:
Did the songs are so great, that they needed to release a proper different album?
Does the quality of those leftovers songs is worth buying?
And finally, could it be possible for the original pledgers that they feel a little biased by this once, exclusive bonus collector piece, now easy to catch as a regular CD release?

The fact is clear, the British Veterans are still in good shape, the soulful voice and the emotional performance of crooner Steve Overland are obviously superb and jaw-dropping as always, magnified and enhanced by a sleek amazing backing-vocal choir in the traditional FM fashion, the new member guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick once again playing his heart out, displaying thru a juicy & tasty tone, his melodic skills and his Stratospheric chops!

The songwriting is still finely precise and pretty coherent, their own signature sound and style is indeed very present and easily recognizable; A Classic Melodic rock sound, naturally mixed with some hints of mature Blues Rock with rich arrangements, maybe, even more turned to Rhythm & Blues than the first episode which was more in the British AOR mode.

The faultless production is incredibly warm, organic but very clear and polished in the most elegant Classic Hard Rock trend this was the last necessary uplifting elements to complete this successful recipe.

In reality, this sequel is a real comeback to their childhood's roots, also the perfect demonstrations of the FM creative turmoil, or name it: Their Artistic-evolution Dilemma, since the late-eighties: a band stuck in between two great era for Rock music, “Bad Addiction" carries perfectly the Heritage of the 70's British Giants, as it was done for the album "Dead Man's Shoes" in 1995, while “Living for The Week End” is particularly tagged by their 80’s sound out of their early period but never seems dated, their primal Rock instinct, their gifts for writing and composing are still intact, happily employed perfectly!

With the addition of a couple of cuts, that's deviated a little from that line, like the fat Guitar riffage/Gloomy mood of the Heaviest track “Runaway Train”, or with the unexpected final song “Last Chance Saloon” garnished with some organic cowboy-blues harp in the pure wild west conquest way, they had provided again, a full collection of classy songs to give many proofs once again of their sheer talent by mixing with class, different Rock style.

That’s why the whole "Rockville" saga is so remarkable, because with Twenty-One songs and almost no-fillers the whole spectrum of the FM style is visited in a rollercoaster ride manner! Well it’s good news for FM lovers out there, because this second part is the perfect listening companion to his predecessor! Since their glorious return at Firesfest, they had created for their fans what they are looking for, with "Rockville" they even managed to surpass the success of “Metropolis” in every sectors and the part ”II” follow the same path, and holds a legitimacy in the genre and a real artistic credibility, so, yes, it's an essential purchase! Maybe next time, the pledgers should be warned about the fact that exclusive can be interpreted in various way!

No hard feelings, Steve Overland and Co are true to their legacy; FM did not try to feign, to wear fancy dress or modified the band's legendary sound into something more modern in order to sell to a brand-new targeted audience. That’s what really matters to me; the music is great forget the rest!

The whole overcrowded mainstream market will ignore “Rockville”, but the Classic Rock community will cherish this release, henceforth available for the most in its full original format! 

4 Star Rating

1. High
2. Bad Addiction
3. Guilty
4. Desolation Station
5. Runaway Train
6. Living For The Weekend
7. Forever And A Day
8. Paradise Highway
9. Brother Take Me Home
10. Last Chance Saloon
Steve Overland – Lead Vocals / Guitars
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass
Pete Jupp – Drums
Jim Kirkpatrick – Lead Guitars
Jem Davis – Keyboards
Record Label: Riff City Records


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Edited 29 January 2023

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