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One Desire - One Desire Award winner

One Desire
One Desire
by Anna Chase at 12 July 2017, 12:29 PM

ONE DESIRE first came onto the AOR Rock scene in 2012 when drummer Ossi Sivula decided to form a band in his home country of Finland. However, like any great Rock band, the group was a long time in development before they came together as a cohesive act in 2014. This was somewhat due to the valuable addition of singer André Linman, who up until that point had been the leader of the Finnish Power Metal band STURM UND DRANG. ONE DESIRE is worlds away in sound from Linman’s previous endeavor, however, the same level of energy and commitment from the band members is still there. As local interest in the band grew, so did its membership and reputation within the Melodic Rock community. Interestingly enough, the group’s bassist (Jonas Kuhlberg) came from Power and Heavy Metal roots as well. Kuhlberg played in bands such as CAIN’S OFFERING and MYGRAIN, and worked with famous musicians such as Paul Di’Anno (formerly of IRON MAIDEN.) The band has used their years of musical expertise and experience writing and recording music in order to come together and form an album that has been regarded by many as the best Melodic Rock/AOR release of 2017: an impressive title.

The first song, “Hurt”, is a powerful, electrifying Melodic Rock anthem full of percussive guitar riffs and intense vocals. The tone of this track is a bit heavier than that of most AOR songs. In fact, what makes this track stand out is the undertone of aggression that the band conveys. The song is based on a central theme of jilted love, and the slight veil of anger that encapsulates the different elements of the track give it a distinctive feel. Between that and the frenzy of the guitar solo, this song is one of the best on the album and definitely one of my personal favorites. “Apologize” is slightly more tranquil than its predecessor, however, despite its different tone, the band manages to maintain the same fervent power they play with. The chorus here is my favorite part of the song, as it’s catchy as anything and highlights all the intensity that the different instruments can play with. The melodies the guitars, drums, and bass create as they intertwine with the vocals are magical, and they create a perfect balance together, which is no small feat.

“Love Injection” begins with a throwback sound and a simple, 80’s synth-pop isolated drumbeat before the band soon blasts in with the rest of the instruments. They tear into an explosive chorus which points the spotlight toward Sivula’s tireless drumming technique and the guitarists’ ability to create and perform catchy, rhythmic melodies which blend flawlessly with the harmonies of the other instruments. In “Turn Back Time”, the guitars establish a haunting, beautiful harmony with clean riffs in the intro combined with Linman’s passionate vocals. In a resentful love song about regret and lost time, the heavier guitar and bass riffs are combined with breaks in which brief acoustic melodies give the song extra complexity and interest. The solo here was, especially, technically impressive: the speed in which the notes were played was almost inhuman and the emotion throughout the whole song was palpable.

“Falling Apart” is a raw, enchanting track dominated by isolated percussion throughout the beginning and Linman’s heartfelt singing. In this song especially, his impressive range is illustrated in the chorus. It’s not easy for a male singer to hit the notes he does, and hitting them so clearly and beautifully is a feat that can’t be ignored. Of course, the other instruments in the track also play a vital role in creating the perfect marriage of tones and rhythms to back up the singing. In “Straight Through the Heart”, the band decided to experiment a little with electronic elements, which add to the 80’s vibe which sometimes shows up throughout their album. A little well-placed nostalgia never hurt anyone. The guitars, bass, and drums are really giving a chance to shine here- and despite the catchiness of the chorus, I knew it sounded very familiar… it’s from the Christmas song “Carol of the Bells”. An honest mistake, I bet. It was just funny to me that a classic AOR band would choose to pop in a sample from a Christmas carol. It actually gives the track a bit of a whimsical feel, and it’s well done and one of my favorites, in fact.

“Whenever I’m Dreaming” is a pure Melodic Rock song, and an absolutely infectious radio hit. The chorus is a slightly Hard Rock influenced harmony that will be stuck in any listener’s head for days, and the rhythm is sure to induce toe-tapping. Linman’s voice is a high, clear bolt of lightning, and the guitars, bass, and drums just enhance the complexity and depth of this song. It’s technically masterful and one of the best AOR songs I’ve heard so far, this year. “Do You Believe” is definitely less ambient Rock. It takes charge and grabs the melody by the throat. The intricate drumbeat and sweeping guitar riffs drive the melody and rhythm forward, and even manage to push over the vocals in places to steal the show. The harmonies between lead and rhythm guitar establish a catchy central tune, and inject the entire track with extra energy and power.

“Buried Alive” has a definite Power Metal feel, which I loved. BLIND GUARDIAN, HELLOWEEN: I grew up listening to Power Metal, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. This song could be right up there with those bands. The drums are powerful and chugging, the guitar is distorted and tears up a twisting solo like there’s no tomorrow. The vocals also take on a much stronger, more dangerous tone to create a pounding track which blasted its way into memorability. “This is Where the Heartbreak Begins”, as well as its acoustic version, had a much different feel, on the other hand. It’s much lighter than their traditional AOR songs, even in the non-acoustic version, much of the guitar work has an acoustic feel. There are no drum fills or elaborate riffs; rather, the whole song has a bare-bones, soulful feel which is made even clearer by Linman’s pure, unadulterated vocal melodies.

Overall, I have to say that this album knocked me off my feet, and I’m not one to exaggerate. ONE DESIRE can write complicated riffs and harmonies with ease, and crank out catchy choruses like nothing. Their years of expertise within varied genres of Rock and Metal have given the whole band a developed and mature sound, and they’ve poured hard work and talent into an album that is absolutely worth listening to. Highly recommended.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hurt
2. Apologize
3. Love Injection
4. Turn Back Time
5. Falling Apart
6. Straight Through the Heart
7. Whenever I’m Dreaming
8. Do You Believe
9. Buried Alive
10. This is Where the Heartbreak Begins
11. This is Where the Heartbreak Begins (Acoustic)
Lineup:
Jimmy Westerlund- Guitar
André Linman- Vocals, guitar
Jonas Kuhlberg- Bass
Ossi Sivula- Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music Srl
     


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