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Tao - Prophecy Award winner

by Kevin Lewis at 14 February 2022, 2:04 AM

TAO is a British Melodic Hard Rock band. With a sound more reminiscent of the British Invasion mixed with 80s keyboard infused rock, they are a harkening back to a different time while maintaining a fresh, new feel. Their debut album, “Prophecy,” was released October 15, 2021, via Tarot Label Media.

The record begins with a guitar heavy “Nobody but You.” There is a voice box on the guitar. The use is more like BON JOVI in “Living on A Prayer” rather than PETER FRAMPTON on “Do You Feel Like We Do.” It’s more for tone than simulated speaking. The keys are lurking under the riff for this song. The rhythm is solid, holding down a steady beat without trying to steal the show, except for a quick bass fill late in the song. Karen’s vocals are clean and quite good. Her range and tones are pleasing, drawing the listener in to hear more.

Breathe In Breathe Out” features heavier use of the keyboards. That intro is almost early 80s New Wave. Once the guitar kicks in, the hard rock comes shining through. The bass takes a more prominent role in this song, stepping out front to drive the rhythm, playing more like a rhythm guitar to bolster up the melody. The vocals do a lot of climbing up and sliding off of notes. The technical prowess of her range is really shown. She throws vibrato in to finish off notes like a boss.

The title track, “Prophecy,” has a heavier guitar tone. The interspersed guitar and bass battle at the beginning is really cool. They work together to create a bit of tension and darken the sound a bit. Some of the songs are lighter and airier, but this one goes the opposite direction. Spoken style lyrics in the middle bring in a bit of angst and dread. This song is good for all the right reasons. It shows a heavier sound for the band, is a more complex composition, showing off more of their skills, and has a really good intro with nothing but vocals and a piano/keyboard combo, making the song more appealing to a broader range of music lovers.

Gone Forever” is the power ballad. Favoring piano over keyboards for the intro, this is almost patterned after the 80s Glam Rock/Metal band sound. Longing in the voice is speaking to the loss this song addresses. This is a really good song. Again, it stretches the range of the band as a whole. We get a similar exhibition of power ballad skill on the remix version of “Angels And Clandestine Fools.” Both are nicely paced, even tempered songs that just exude emotion. As for the electric version of “Angels,” that guitar work is, especially the solo, is pretty amazing.

My favorite track on this record is “Rock Brigade.” It had me hooked early, and I finally figured out why. The guitar work reminded me of a song from the past, and it took me days to figure it out. It is not the same, but reminds me of “The Break Up Song” off the album RocKihnRoll by GREG KIHN. I loved that song and the same goes for this one. After the guitar intro, the songs become very different, but that feeling of nostalgia is powerful and gives me a bias towards this song. Yeah, I’m admitting a bias. I’m okay with that.

TAO is a bit more mellow than much of what I listen to normally. One thing they do really well is take me back to my roots. They are a really solid band, playing with skill and crafting really catchy songs. Growing up in the 670s and 80s with an older brother and uncle who liked all the bands who influenced most of the bands I listen to today, I have a love of music like this. This is a band that brings back memories of a time long past that I remember fondly. Long live Rock & Roll!

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Nobody but You
2. Rock Brigade
3. Angels and Clandestine Fools
4. Breathe In, Breathe Out
5. Fire in The Sky
6. Might Just Break your Heart
7. Prophecy
8. Fight Club
9. Nazarene
10. Gone Forever
Karen Fell – Vocals
Dave Rosingana – Bass
Chris Gould – Guitar
Additional Musicians
Darrel Treece‐Birch – Keyboards
Brian Webster – Drums
Gary Hughes – Backing Vocals/Keyboards on "Prophecy" and "Nazarene"
Record Label: Tarot Label Media


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Edited 01 December 2022

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