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West Bound - Vol. 1

West Bound
Vol 1.
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 March 2019, 1:37 PM

WEST BOUND are a hard-hitting new Rock band formed in the Los Angeles, California area by vocalist Chas West (BONHAM, LYNCH MOB, RESSURECTION KINGS) and renowned guitarist/producer Roy Z (BRUCE DICKINSON, HALFORD TRIBE OF GYPSIES), with a line-up completed by Jimmy Burkhard, Jason Cornwell, and Dave Moreno. Additionally, Stephen LeBlanc provides keyboards and Brian Tichy (ex-WHITESNAKE, OZZY & FOREIGNER) co-wrote and played drums on two songs for the album. Their debut, “Vol 1,” contains twelve tracks.

“Never Surrender” opens with dark and sleazy, dirty riff, and a mid-tempo sound. The riff is easy to follow but the effectiveness is there. West stretches out a bit in the chorus, followed by a dazzling guitar solo. “Dance of Life” is slower moving song with a lot of soul coming from the vocals. It has that classic Hard Rock sound, like traveling back in time to yesteryear, when things seemed simpler. “Ain’t Gonna Drown” opens with a pick sliding down the guitar strings, followed by an upbeat and more jovial melody. The text is just a bit too simple for me, however. “Beautiful Dream” opens with soft vocals and keys, and a melancholy sound. It has a tender sound but overall fails to impress. This is one thing that is missing from a lot of modern AOR, especially in American. That excitement factor is just not there.

“Roll the Bones” is a faster moving song with some opening sleazy, partying sounds. The verses are tentative, then the sound comes full bore in the chorus. “On my Own” opens with piano notes and a tender sound. This seems to be where the album is heading pretty much. It wallows in the “mid-tempo blues” and never really gets off the ground. “Keeper of the Flame” is a step up. It’s all about the riff, though it isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, it’s at least a positive shot of energy that the album desperately needs, not to mention a fine vocal performance from Chas West. “Turn to you” might be the finest track on the album. It talks about resolve and companionship, two of the things everyone needs to keep afloat in life.

“No Room for Sympathy” brings a little life back to the album, but it’s short lived. They struggle to put together a strong chorus to back up the main riff. “The Traveler” closes the album, opening with some trippy keys, with a bit of a LED ZEPPELIN vibe. It is both the weirdest and most unique song on the album. I definitely like it and wish there was more of this sound on the album. I have to comment, compared to their European counterparts, American “supergroups” like this are really a poor comparison. There was little to get excited about. It just fell very flat in the end. The musicians are endlessly talented but cannot find a way to bring the project to life. It was downhill following the first track.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 3
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Never Surrender
2. Dance of Life
3. Ain’t Gonna Drown
4. Beautiful Dream
5. Nothing
6. Roll the Bones
7. On my Own
8. Keeper of the Flame
9. Turn to you
10. No Room for Sympathy
11. The Traveler
Chas West – Vocals
Jimmy Burkhard – Guitars
Roy Ramirez – Guitars
Jason Cornwell – Bass
Dave Moreno – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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Edited 25 February 2020

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