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Newman - Decade II

Newman
Decade II
by Dave Nowels at 24 September 2018, 12:41 PM

Formed in 1997 by British singer and songwriter Steve Newman, his namesake band NEWMAN, have been releasing quality Melodic Metal ever since. Relying on calculated and thoughtful lyrics as well as irresistible hooks, NEWMAN bestows upon us a second “Decade” release, a follow-up to the previous one, ten years prior. Like “Decade,”  “Decade “II” is also an ambitious undertaking, and like it’s predecessor is spread out over two discs.
Both discs on “Decade II” feature 17 tracks, and clock in at over 75 minutes each. That’s a heck of a lot of music represented, and even more impressive when you consider NEWMAN has been able to release two volumes of this magnitude over the course of twenty years. Covering songs from 2007’s “Primitive Soul” through 2015’s “The Elegance Machine”, disc one also features tracks from  the albums “The Art of Balance”, “Under Southern Skies” and “Siren”.

Like it’s predecessor, these are newly performed and recorded versions, featuring the current lineup of NEWMAN, which is essentially the live band. Disc two highlights unreleased, B-sides, and songs written for other artists, as well as six songs from the “Aerial” sessions. Just a glance at the song titles should clue you in that NEWMAN’s niche is Melodic AOR songs themed on love and relationships, and it’s a niche that NEWMAN does extremely well. These songs are incredibly catchy, well done, and are all reminiscent of the mid eighties for me. They’re simple in the sense that they don’t rely on crazy technical runs, or progressive time changes. They don’t have to, rather the songs rely on their substance, and composition. That in and of itself is impressive and refreshing.

Highlights for me from disc one were, “Hero to Zero”, “Ghost in the Night”, “The Elegance Machine” and “In Too Deep”. But the real standouts for me were “Primitive Soul” and “She Walks In Silence”. Disc two opens with “Breaking the Barrier” and immediately it’s a favorite, with it’s driving riff oriented guitar.  “Fight No More” is a super power ballad with a soaring guitar solo, and perfect choruses. Great song, and one of my top picks from the collection. “Scar of Love” and “Never Becomes Again” are another pair of great riff based rockers that really showcase the entire band.

I wasn’t even slightly familiar with NEWMAN before this review opportunity. So, in complete disclosure, though this isn’t necessarily the type of Metal I actively seek out these days, I came away impressed. Even more so for how prolific a songwriter and composer Steve Newman has been over the past 20 years and more. These songs reminded me of times when I was younger, and of simpler times. I really enjoyed listening to “Decade II”, and will likely seek out the first collection now as well.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc One
1. Hero To Zero
2. Heading For You
3. Liar
4. One More Night With You
5. Stay With Me
6. The Elegance Machine
7. Nightmare
8. Primitive Soul
9. World Keep Turning
10. In Too Deep
11. The More I Love
12. Crossed My Heart
13. She Walks In Silence
14. Under Southern Skies
15. Race of a Lifetime
16. Tumble Down
17. My Fantasy

Disc Two
1. Breaking The Barrier
2. Girl Found Love
3. Ghost In The Night
4. Feel Her Again
5. Fight No More
6. She’s The Woman
7. Killing Me
8. Angel
9. Endless
10. Fire With Fire
11. Scar Of Love
12. 15 Minute Revolution
13. A Witness At Love’s Decline
14. Does It Feel The Same
15. Had Enough
16. Never Becomes Again
17. For The Man I Am
 
Lineup:
Steve Newman – Vocals, guitar
Shaun Bessant –Guitar, Vocals
David Bartlett – Bass, Vocals
Paul Boyle – Keyboards, Vocals
Pete Newdeck - Drums
Record Label: AOR Heaven
     


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Edited 17 October 2018
 

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