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Robledo – Wanted Man

Robledo
Wanted Man
by Frank Dashwood at 06 December 2021, 6:44 AM

As an unrepentant GTA5/GTA online addict, I’m always looking for things to play in the background, that enhance my game-play experience. In an entirely unplanned turn of events, this album has become my new favorite “white noise” (more like the sound-track to the GTA movie I’m playing a part in). I hit play, flipped to GTA, put in my mouth piece, bit down, and unleashed hell on Los Santos for at least an hour. Every striving verse, I was pushing the accelerator through the firewall, flying a bus, or otherwise non-flightworthy vehicle off a cliff, or threading a jet between buildings downtown. Cops shooting, and chasing, with this epic calling me to do ever more daring, and dangerous shit. Walking out of the hospital for the 10th, or 12th time, I looked up at the rising sun, and kind of woke up out of the zone I’d been locked into between the game, and this album. What a trip!

While studying up on this band, I’d found out that Alessandro Del Vecchio wrote a good deal of this album. Oddly enough, through all of the claims of influence, and comparisons to other bands, no one mentioned Stan Bush. Maybe it’s a generational/era thing. “Hearts The Only Enemy”, and “Wanted Man” both reminded me of parts of “The Touch”.  The speed, and intensity of the first two songs carried over to “Quicksand”, but I felt the keyboard accompaniment was somehow too much. I didn’t really feel like it was necessary, or that it added anything to make up for the attention it takes away from that kick ass rhythm!

This album defies the conventions of it’s associated genres in a multitude of ways. The themes of the songs, and clean vocals would easily fit ROBELDO into some form of “rock”. However, the guitars have a thrashier tone, the leads are technical, yet melodic, and the heavy use of double-bass would shift them further toward the Prog/Thrash spectrum. There again, the vocal stylings, themes, and some of the songs (“Alone Again”) bring them almost all the way around to Pop, but the rest of it never comes close.

The depth of diversity on this album is only really possible when you have a vocalist with as broad a range, and as strong a voice as James. WHITE LION came to mind a bit while listening to this. I think the similarities are mostly in their styles, as James’ voice was a little stronger, and grittier than Mike Tramp’s. Not to take a wit of credit from the rest of the band. The whole album was an excellent demonstration of the skill level of Alessandro, Francesco, and Andre. Songs like “Higher Scope”, “The Good Will Rise”, and “Where Eagles Dare To Fly” were blistering with aggressive, and driving rhythm work, and melodic leads, over a firmament of syncopated concrete. I found the consistency of the intensity of this album to be a bit surprising. It’s almost an assurance to me that the habit of producers to load sides A, and B according to the quality of the songs is all but rendered obsolete.

At first I was a bit intimidated by trying to figure out how to approach this review. Aside from a few verbal glitches inherent from English not being James’ primary language, I really enjoyed this album. The up-beat messages, and strident/triumphant rhythms, smooth, and melodic leads, and rock solid beat all culminated to make this a real pleasure to review.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Heart’s The Only Enemy
2. Wanted Man
3. Quicksand
4. Dreams Deceive
5. Hate Like You
6. Shelter From Pain
7. Alone Again
8. Higher Scope
9. The Good Will Rise
10. The Holy Book
11. Where Eagle’s Dare To Fly
Lineup:
James Robledo – Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Bass, Keyboards
Francesco Marras – Guitars
André Hilgers – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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