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Michael Jessen - Memories Award winner

Michael Jessen
Memories
by MarcusTheRocker at 18 December 2014, 9:46 PM

I've reviewed and listened to a lot of Melodic Rock releases this year so don’t ask me how many I've reviewed in total, as I wouldn't be able to give you a definite answer. That list is about to get bigger, as the artist featured in this review, is one in the Melodic Rock genre so let us dive into it and see if this adds to the masterpieces I've already heard this year from that genre.

The artist in question is Danish guitarist MICHAEL JESSEN, who this year, released his debut album entitled “Memories”. Before I read the press release that came with it, I instantly thought that he would be doing all the work himself like some solo artists tend to do, but as always, I jumped to conclusions too soon, as he has other musicians involved in this project. While Michael plays all the guitars, he has some of his friends doing the other instruments and the vocalist for this album is Swedish singer Göran Edman, who I am no stranger to, as I've heard his work with guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen although I didn't recognize his vocals at first, as it’s clear they've adapted, evolved and changed since I heard his work with Yngwie. Anyway, back to the “Memories” album now and I am here to find out if this deserves a spot on my list of favorite Melodic Rock releases from this year.

A bit of background info first before we get started. 15 is the age when Michael Jessen picked up a guitar and began to learn thanks to some lessons from a childhood friend of his, and by 1998, he started playing with some international and domestic bands/artists. In 2012, he teamed up with singer Göran Edman to record a 4 song EP and this release secured Michael a record deal with Massacre Records.

Fast forward now to 2014, and the debut album “Memories” is ready and has been out for a couple of weeks now, since December 5th. The album features ten songs, which include the 4 from the EP released in 2012 plus 6 additional new songs including 5 vocal tracks and an instrumental, which closes off the album. The total runtime is around 40 or so minutes and you know what? It’s everything I expect from a Melodic Rock record as you always expect something good and is this good? The simple answer is, yes it is.

Where shall we begin? I guess we’ll start with the music of course. Everything is sounding punchy, crisp and clear so you’ll be able to hear everything clearly and that’s good as there are some fine melodies in the music with some being hard and heavy (“Broken Heart”, “Blackwater”), some being soft and melodic (“Prisoner”, “The Rose”) and some being peppy and upbeat (“Everything Comes To An End”, “Runaway”), so you get a nice blend and that’s good as I do like a good blend of different musical styles from time to time.

The performances on this album are excellent, including the guitar work from Michael Jessen and the vocal work from Göran Edman, who may sound different now to when he did in say 1990 when he sung on the Yngwie Malmsteen album “Eclipse” but it’s obvious that his vocals have grown to be stronger and that shows as there is some good strong powerful vocals on this record.

Verdict time now and if there’s one thing you will always get from a Melodic Rock release, it’s consistent quality with excellent production and excellent melodies. “Memories” by Michael Jessen is one of those albums that is not only diverse in the styles of music used but it meets the criteria needed for a Melodic Rock release, including excellent melodies, excellent songwriting, clear quality allowing you to hear everything without compromise, and of course, an excellent vocal performance. Looks like the Melodic Rock world just got some new competition in the form of Michael Jessen so be sure to keep your eyes on this one, as this guy has now been added to my list of Melodic Rock artists I like.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Broken Heart
2. My Own Funeral
3. Everything Comes to an End
4. Blackwater
5. The Rose
6. Runaway
7. Prisoner
8. Dreams Die Hard
9. Lost in L.A.
10. Freefall (Instrumental)
Lineup:
Göran Edman - Vocals
Michael Jessen - Guitars
Christoffer Hoaas - Bass
Mads Grunnet - Drums
John Norum - Guitar Solo on “Blackwater”
Morten Dybro - Piano on “Prisoner”
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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