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Night Ranger - Hole In The Sun (CD)

Night Ranger
Hole In The Sun
by Grigoris Chronis at 01 April 2007, 2:26 PM

When NIGHT RANGER scored huge success in the 80s, the field of pre-Melodic Rock music was kinda 'twisted'. There was the AOR sentimental melodies, the pompous volume of FM Rock and - a little bit beyond the line - the spray madness of Hair (or Pop or whatever) Metal. Anno 2006, things did clear a bit - the 'Melodic Rock' term being semi-insecure, I repeat - while the assist of labels like MTM Music, AOR Heaven, Frontiers and Perris Records facilitated a more precise shape of what Rock fans think as loud enough and Metal fans as light enough. This is the time NIGHT RANGER decides to confuse us…again.
Again? 1998's Seven - yes, Hole In The Sun sees the first NIGHT RANGER album after nine whole years! - did show some signs of re-estamblishement of the band's sound to (then) current needs. It seems that Hole In The Sun is destined to leave a relative mark. For a band that has emerged form the US rockin' boulevards, this status currently exposed may or may not persuade someone towards his/her requirements. Remember parallel fights for whether a band should rearrange its profile as years pass by or not (what does not develop gradually dies and other philosophic shit…)? This is the case here, too: whoever accepted or declined NIGHT RANGER's 1998 offer will have little trouble making up his mind (even if things are slightly different in Hole To The Sun) but for the rest of the melodic US Rock followers a certain dozen of hearings seems to be a must. Cause the album needs your attention, in order to decide.
From the original lineup 1996 reunion - that led to the interesting 1997 Neverland album, at first - keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald is not a member of the band in 2007. Added to Jack Blades (DAMN YANKESS, SHAW/BLADES, TMG), Brad Gillis (OZZY OSBOURNE, VICIOUS RUMORS), Jeff Watson (MOTHER'S ARMY) and Kelly Keagy (THE MOB) now is the creative spirit of Michael Lardie (GREAT WHITE). With or without Fitzgerald, NIGHT RANGER do write an album that stands on foot to the present and on foot to the past. The guitar duo of Watson/Gillis is firing again, and that's a good thing to know. Sharp riffing, on-the-edge solos and a great chemistry throughout the whole tracklist. On the contrary, few are the chances you'll find hooks and melodies to stick to your mind; and, of course, there's nearly no way you'll bring the tremendous atmosphere of classic NIGHT RANGER albums like Big Life (1987) or Midnight Madness (1983) in mind. The vocals are clear enough but not that 'harmonic', while the production surely is neat and stable, but do not stiff upper lip in hearing of a sound New Rock bands are fond of (won't call names, won't call names…), huh?
The band tries - somehow confusingly - to mix present with the past. And this takes a lot of risk to succeed in; even for a band like NIGHT RANGER. Dunno. This album is the case where you must hear the album yourself to come up with a proper conclusion. Some new stuff is 'in', some old stuff is 'in', too; take a bite and swallow or throw out.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Tell Your Vision
Drama Queen
You're Gonna Hear It From Me
Whatever Happened
There Is Life
Rock Star
Hole In The Sun
Fool In Me
White Knuckle Ride
Revelation 4 AM
Wrap It Up
Being
Lineup:
Kelly Keagy - Drums, Lead Vocals
Jack Blades - Bass, Lead Vocals
Jeff Watson - Guitars, Vocals
Brad Gillis - Guitars, Vocals
Michael Lardie - Keyboards, Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers
     


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