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Toseland – Cradle The Rage

Toseland
Cradle The Rage
by Michael Humphrey at 21 October 2016, 10:05 PM

James Toseland is a former motorcycle racer from England who began a career in his self proclaimed ‘first love’ of music with the debut of his solo project TOSELAND back in 2013; releasing the single “Life is Beautiful” online. TOSELAND then went on to release their first album “Renegade” in 2014 and an EP “Hearts and Bones” in 2015 and have firmly entrenched themselves as a modern Melodic Rock band with all the extras that come with it. Their latest release “Cradle the Rage” (2016), is no different, coming with the fast paced rocking rhythms, ‘face melting’ solos, and rolling ballads indicative of the hugely popular style.

“Too Close to Call” starts the album off with a bang, with Roger Davis’ thundering bass line gripping the listener as it counts the band in. Toseland’s vocal performance immediately shows itself as a powerful and gripping presence, with a memorable chorus. Guitars are generally simple, yet effective, and are supported by a brass section at key moments during the song. In “Puppet on a Chain” however, the guitars come to life, introducing both cool riffs and dreamy atmospheric soundscapes halfway through the song, where piano also makes an appearance to give the song some real depth. The backing vocals in the chorus however seem fairly thin and heavily affected, where it would have been better to hear rawer shouts to compliment the powerful nature of the primary vocals. “Living in a Moment” rushes in with a heavy, MOTORHEAD influenced speed metal riff before toning down the guitars again to the more glam rock style the band is known for. That heaviness is revisited at several points during the song to create an energetic emotional response.

“Fingers Burned” enters as the album’s first rock ballad – with the piano, organ and guitars driving a mellow rhythm whilst a strings section provides an emotional melodic backdrop to Toseland’s vocals. The song also features two guitar solos before fading out on a memorable strings piece. “Stranger Things” comes next and begins as Hard Rock as you can expect with heavy guitar and bass rhythms and Joe Yoshida’s straightforward drumming driving the song. “We’ll Stop at Nothing” is also quite a powerful offering, with the strings returning to add grandiosity, the guitars and bass a heavy low end, and Toseland delivering a potent vocal performance.

“Never Love Another” is a heavy rock ballad which features interesting double guitar melodies and a very roomy vocal sound, amplifying Toseland’s powerful performance and making this song an enjoyable and impressive performance. “Livin’ a Lie” takes a somewhat similar approach but without the elements of balladry, opting instead for a more direct hard rock approach. The guitar performance is a highlight here, with some more unusual riffs and solos that give this song a different flavour in comparison to the rest of the album. “Waiting for the Answers” is fairly usual for a song of this genre, however has a few interesting elements, which include the use of organs later in the song.

“Nothing You Can Do About It” is another rocking song with mellow and menacing verses swinging to a faster melodic chorus that makes this song worth headbanging to. “Cradle the Rage” ends the album on a strong note with a hard, fast Rock approach with excellent guitar solos and a powerful vocal performance rounding it off nicely before finishing in one last explosive attack from the guitars to close the album.

“Cradle the Rage” is a perfect example of how Melodic Rock has survived over the years, however, it is disappointing to see exactly how little the genre has, or even can evolve, with how little modern artists like TOSELAND seem to have deviated from the sound of the 80s and 90s bands who brought the genre into the limelight. Having said that, the songwriting is still exceptional, fun and overall achieves the Hard Rock sound that these bands look for, and with the inclusion of orchestral strings and brass sections to many of the album’s songs adding a new layer of depth, it’s hard to go wrong.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Too Close to Call
  2. Puppet on a Chain
  3. Living in a Moment
  4. Finger Burned
  5. Stranger Thing
  6. We'll Stop at Nothing
  7. Never Love Another
  8. Livin' a Lie
  9. Waiting for the Answers
  10. Nothing You Can Do About It
  11. Cradle the Rage
Lineup:
James Toseland – Vocals, Keyboards
Zurab Melua – Guitars
Ed Bramford – Guitars
Roger Davis – Bass
Joe Yoshida -  Drums
Record Label: Metalville Records
     


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Edited 20 September 2021
 

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