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Tony O Hora - Escape Into The Sun (CD)

Tony O Hora
Escape Into The Sun
by Grigoris Chronis at 28 December 2005, 6:08 AM

Sometimes it only takes two people to come to an agreement. The perfect match would be one for singing and the other one for playing. If a three-piece act is said to be the ideal number of musicians fighting each other's thoughts/proposals, then just think how 'operational' a duo is.
The tale: Once upon a time there was a brilliant melodic Rock band called Praying Mantis (and still is, as far as I'm concerned). Into the NWOBHM 'tornado' of the late 70's/early 80's they released the AOR-orientated classic Time Tells No Lies (1981) album. Disbanding a couple of years after their debut, they reformed in the late 80's, focusing mainly on the Japanese market (they still do, as far as I'm concerned again). They've brought out 7-8 releases till now, the best of them said to be Forever In Time (1998) and Nowhere To Hide (2000). Well, Tony O'Hora sang on these two efforts. That's the relation, that's the hint.
The singer: Tony O'Hora carries a respectable CV, even if not that recognized among the average Melodic Rock/AOR fans apart from his works with Praying Mantis. Liverpool's AORsters Toronto (a much appreciated outfit, with only a couple of releases if I remember well) was his first 'known' home, but I think he didn't manage to release any albums with them. Later on, Tony crossed the line by joining the (then) camp of declining thrashers Onslaught. No luck there either. Sleaze rockers Highwire were his next stop; gaining enough reputation during various U.K. gigs didn't result in a record contract either. Tuff luck… On to Hora-Kane (along with ex-Highwire colleague Jaime O'Kane) and the Eternal Infinity (1999) album - a brilliant release - saw the light of day. I think Frontiers Records re-released this obscure gem a few years ago, altering its title to Falling Into Infinity. Anyway, also enlisted as the frontman into Andy Sweet's 2003 lineup of Glam legends Sweet, he gained a glimpse of worldwide fame for a short while. Last but not least, O'Hora joined the re-generated edition of U.K. rockers Statetrooper for a short time to handle the bass duties. This brings us to the year 2005 and the release of his debut solo album reviewed here.
The player: Swedish Magnus Karlsson is the man I cannot give sufficient info about. But cares, since his contribution to projects as Starbreaker and Allen/Lande speak for themselves. 'Nuff said.
The music: If O'Hora had composed the songs by himself, I'd consider the specific result as something absolutely logical. Yet, to see Karlsson as the sole creator put me into grand thinking. You see, there's absolutely no way you won't bring Praying Mantis to mind as soon as you listen to the album. Yes, this album could have come out under the P.M. moniker and none would defy. Not that there's something bad now. It's just a little bit weird - or maybe Karlsson proves to be the most devoted P.M. fan (Troy Bros, do you read me?). Anyway - and to be a little bit more specific - Escape Into The Sun features twelve well-structured songs with plain guitars, an average rhythm section and beautiful keyboards. O'Hora's voice is in great shape; he can 'breathe' melancholy, passion and sentiment each time he feels so. He can also scream his guts out whenever he wants, no prob. All tunes flirt with Melodic Rock/AOR the European way, with Escape Into The Sun, My Final Prayer and Start All Over drawing my attention a little bit more than the remaining tracklist. Anyway, no over-mellowed stuff in here; I'm really glad…
The outro: you know what kind of music Frontiers deals with, you already know Praying Mantis' 'taste'; well, if you - in addition - took the chance to listen to the Allen/Lande 2005 release, you cannot miss the 'design' of this album. If you got the rest, you can pick up this one too.

3 Star Rating

Broken Soul
Escape Into The Sun
No More Innocence
High Enough
My Final Prayer
Dreamless Nights
More Than We Know
Close To Me
Evil Love
Black Wings
Start All Over
Never Alone
Tony O'Hora - All Vocals
Magnus Carlsson - All Instruments
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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